Fife councillor suspended for making inappropriate remarks to cabbie has appeal against sanction rej

A councillor in Fife has had an appeal rejected after he was suspended for making inappropriate remarks to a cabbie.  

The remarks came after the taxi driver attempted to renew his licence. 

SNP member for the Howe of Fife and Tay Coast ward, David MacDiarmid, who serves on the council’s regulation and licensing committee received a two month ban after being deemed to have breached the councillors’ Code of Conduct.  

The Courier reported that Mr MacDiarmid had made comments after Police Scotland expressed concerns in relation to a number of allegations made against the cabbie at a licensing committee meeting in December 2015.

Mr MacDiarmid's comments to the cabbie involved expressing an opinion over his personal life and he also accused him of being a "bully". Mr MacDiarmid's comments were found to be an insult and a personal attack, which breaches the Code of Conduct undertaken by elected members.The findings were made by the Standards Commission for Scotland, since all members must treat licence applicants fairly.

Mr MacDiarmid's challenge to the decision to suspend him for two months was refused by Sheriff Principal Marysia Lewis at Perth Sheriff Court. Although Senior counsel Mungo Bovey QC claimed that Mr MacDiarmid’s comments might have been protected under article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Sheriff Lewis disagreed, stating that the cab driver attended the committee meeting as an active participant looking to renew his license and not as a separate member of the public.

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