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Former Sark conseiller guilty of code of conduct breach

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FORMER Sark conseiller Reg Guille has been found guilty of breaching Chief Pleas’ code of conduct.

Former Sark conseiller Reg Guille has been found guilty of a breach of Chief Pleas' code of conduct (24152898)

He has been instructed to write a personal apology to Michael Doyle, who instigated the complaint, as well as a formal letter to the Speaker of Chief Pleas.

This was believed to the first time that the code of conduct panel had sat and it followed Mr Doyle’s complaint over Mr Guille’s behaviour towards him at a hustings in the run-up to the 2018 election.

Mr Doyle failed in his attempt to secure a seat in Chief Pleas at that election.

Among the members of the panel was Sark Seigneur Christopher Beaumont, who said that its judgment would not be made public until after being presented to Chief Pleas.

However, this week’s edition of The Sark Newspaper has printed what appears to be the full judgment, including the background to the complaint.

It reported that Mr Doyle said that at the hustings Mr Guille had made intimidating comments criticising his candidacy. ‘This revocation, though initially relatively calm, increased in temper with his index finger pointing at my chest, whilst he persistently sought the support of his table, looking towards them.

‘My complaint is that Mr Guille ought not to have chosen that occasion to vent his personal discordance towards me,’ Mr Doyle said.

Mr Guille was invited, by letter on 11 January, to provide his own evidence in response, and it was pointed out that all conseillers were obliged by law to co-operate fully with the panel and failure would constitute a breach in its own right. ‘It is clear that Conseiller Guille was either unaware of, or chose to disregard, this legal requirement,’ the panel said.

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He resigned as a conseiller on 18 January.

The judgment, as reported, stated that this did not mean the investigation came to an end.

Matters were complicated by Mr Guille being co-opted back onto two committees following his resignation, but the code of conduct panel said that in its view a complaint could be made against a sitting conseiller or a co-opted member of a committee.

‘A hustings event is an occasion for robust and forthright exchanges of opinions on policies and for reasoned discussions between candidates and electors. It has long been a part of the democratic process, but there is a line between such exchanges and what is personal abuse and behaviour which is threatening,’ said the panel.

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‘He clearly crossed the line of what is and is not acceptable.’

It upheld Mr Doyle’s complaint.

‘The course of action recommended by the panel is that Chief Pleas require Reginald Guille to write a personal apology to Michael Doyle and a formal letter to the speaker of Chief Pleas recognising that the code applies to co-opted members and apologising for his failure to co-operate as required to do so by the code.’

The panel goes on to say that awareness of the code of conduct may not be widespread, so it recommended that new and existing members be made aware periodically of its requirements and obligations.

. Neither Mr Guille or Mr Doyle could be contaced for comment.

Mark Ogier

By Mark Ogier
News reporter

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