A COUNCILLOR from Rugby has been cleared of publishing material of an indecent and grossly offensive nature via Twitter.
Coun Jim Buckley, borough ward councillor for Hillmorton, was found not guilty today at Leamington Magistrates’ Court.
He was charged after he sent a tweet last October comparing London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan’s HQ to a ‘corner shop’.
After announcing the verdict, the magistrate told Coun Buckley: “We agree what you sent is very stupid, as you admitted yourself.
“As you said, it could be insensitive, or by others it could be seen as offensive. But we have deemed it not to be grossly offensive.”
In his defence, Coun Buckley told the court: “It’s been four months of hell for myself. Things have been terrible ever since. I can’t believe all this has taken me here.
“It was an extremely stupid thing to do and I wish I could take it all back. It was just a fit of madness and it was the biggest mistake of my life.”
And after the trial, he said: “I want to say thank you to my wife and family as its been four months of hell for them.
“And my thanks goes out to my solicitor Mohammad Farooq. Its been a real nightmare.
“Now we are going to rest and see the end of this. I hope to continue my work with the Conservative council team and continue to serve Hillmorton.”
Coun Buckley, who was elected to RBC as a Conservative in 2013, was permanently booted out of the ruling Conservative Group last November as a result of the tweet, which Council Leader Coun Michael Stokes called “unacceptable”.
If Coun Buckley had been found guilty of the offence under the Communications Act, he could have been jailed for up to six months, handed a fine or both – and his position at Rugby Borough Council would have been in jeopardy.
London-born Mr Khan, Labour’s candidate for London Mayor, has a British Pakistani background. His office has declined to comment on the case.