Wakefield Council 'powerless' to remove councillor who admits child sex charges

Wakwefield Council says it is 'powerless' to remove a councillor who has admitted child sex charges in court.

By Mark Lavery
Friday, 10th July 2020, 8:55 am
Updated Friday, 10th July 2020, 8:56 am
Coun Kear.
Coun Kear.

Alex Kear from Castleford appeared at Leeds Crown Court yesterday where he pleaded guilty to two offences.

.The 50-year-old admitted one charge of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sexual offence involving a child under the age of 13.

Kear also admitted one charge of inciting the sexual exploitation of a child under the age of 13.

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Despite this, Wakefield Council says it is unable to remove him from his position on the council.

Gillian Marshall, Wakefield Council’s chief legal officer, said after the court hearing: "Under local authority legislation, Alex Kear remains a councillor. Wakefield Council is powerless to remove him at this stage.

“Central government has essentially left local councils powerless to take action in these situations.

"We do not have any authority to remove elected members from their position, regardless of the severity of their alleged crimes, unless they receive a significant custodial sentence. Therefore unless Coun Kear chooses to resign, he remains a councillor. This will be reviewed when he is sentenced.

“As soon as we were made aware of the investigation by West Yorkshire Police we took all the appropriate safeguarding measures within our control and we will continue to do so.”

Kear, of Stansfield Drive, Castleford, won his Airedale and Ferry Fryston seat from Labour at the local elections in May last year.

He was granted bail after yesterday's hearing and is due to return to court to be sentenced on August 20.

Judge Andrew Stubbs QC told Kear: "The fact that I am adjourning your case for reports is no indication of the sentence that you will ultimately receive. All options remain open."