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Councillor facing arson sentencing to be tagged after breach of bail

Malcolm Small, borough councillor for West Heath, has been handed a curfew after breaching his bail while he awaits sentencing for a charge of arson

Cllr Malcolm Small

UKIP councillor Malcolm Small has been made subject of an electronically-monitored curfew after breaching his bail relating to a charge of arson.

Rushmoor Borough Council's elected member for West Heath appeared at Basingstoke Magistrates' Court on Monday (March 3) after contacting the victim whose clothes he burnt at his Farnborough home on February 4.

This was a breach of the 48-year-old's bail conditions, imposed when he admitted the arson charge on February 20 at Aldershot Magistrates' Court, and the curfew which was subsequently put in place forbids him from leaving his Brewers Close home between 7pm and 7am daily.

He was also told to hand over his mobile phone and not apply to get a replacement to ensure he does not commit the same breach.

The curfew, and a condition that he live and sleep each night at his home address, will be electronically monitored. The curfew will not impact on any scheduled public council meetings that he is required to attend.

Small will be sentenced at Basingstoke Magistrates' Court on Friday (March 14) after admitting burning Kim Van Opdorp's clothes.

Leader of the local UKIP group, and fellow West Heath councillor, Cllr Mark Staplehurst told the News & Mail that the case had been "blown out of proportion" and that no decision on his future was likely until after the sentencing.

Council leader Cllr Peter Moyle, however, has said Small should already have resigned over the "serious and significant crime".

According to the constitution, Small will have to step down if he receives a prison sentence, even if this is suspended. Any other sentence would leave Cllr Staplehurst to decide whether he should resign and a by-election held to replace him.

 

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