Constable faces Royal Court over use of parish funds

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Mr Taylor was convicted of the motoring charge in the Magistrate’s Court in August last year. However, further questions emerged about the appropriateness of his attempts to use parish money to fund his legal expenses.

The Constable initially said he was eligible to claim the funds, as he was carrying out parish duties at the time of the offence and that the money would be reimbursed by insurers. Following a public backlash, however, Mr Taylor agreed to return the money and to pay his own legal costs.

He and Procureurs du Bien Public Stephen Hewlett and Michael Larose are due to attend the Royal Court for a two-day hearing that will consider whether they had fallen short of the standards expected of them when they were sworn into office.

Having been found guilty following a Magistrate’s Court trial in relation to an incident in which he drove his car into a cycle race marshal, Mr Taylor maintained his innocence when contacted by the JEP yesterday.

‘I am an innocent man who has been convicted of a crime I did not commit,’ he said.

Mr Taylor, who was elected in 2014, was found guilty by Relief Magistrate Sarah Fitz on 20 August 2020, after driving his car at slow speed into a marshal manning a road closure for a cycle race in Trinity. The incident took place on 2 June 2019 on Rue Bechet ès Cats, close to the parish boundary with St John.

This week’s hearing comes after the Royal Court served a representation on the three men on 30 October last year, having considered evidence from the Attorney General.

The Attorney General’s submission outlines the background to the dangerous-driving trial, which ended with Mr Taylor being given a £4,000 fine and an 18-month driving ban, and the question of the use of parish funds to pay legal expenses.

A total of £7,431 was paid by the parish, the submission explains, with the ‘reasonable expectation’ that some or all of the cost would eventually be covered by insurance.

Subsequent discussions between the Procureurs – the legal and financial representatives of a parish – as well as the Rector of St John and two churchwardens are also mentioned in the Attorney General’s submission, including the reimbursement of £7,078 by Mr Taylor to the parish a month before his trial.

Solicitor General Matthew Jowitt, writing on behalf of the Attorney General, states in the representation that the court may wish to consider: ‘Whether the first respondent [Mr Taylor], as a result of his actions leading to his conviction for dangerous driving, has fallen short of the standards expected of him and of the oath of office he took.

‘Whether the three respondents, either collectively or individually, through using parish funds to pay for the first respondent’s legal expenses, and/or seeking to claim on the parish’s insurance policy, and/or claiming to have taken legal advice from the Attorney General, have fallen short of discharging their duty as custodians of the parish’s finances.’

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