Conservatives launch inquiry into disgraced former leader Derek Osbourne

Osbourne: Jailed for two years

Osbourne: Jailed for two years

First published in News This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy editor

Kingston Council's new Conservative administration will launch an independent inquiry into disgraced ex-Liberal Democrat leader Derek Osbourne’s years in power, it has been announced.

Council leader Councillor Kevin Davis said he wanted to draw a line under "the most shaming thing the borough’s ever faced".

Osbourne, 60, is serving a two-year prison sentence for downloading and distributing indecent images of children, animals and women being violently and sexually abused.

At the time of his arrest in June last year, he was the public face of the council’s children’s services improvement plan, following the damning 2012 Ofsted inspection.

He was also a vocal supporter of the Rose Theatre, and its youth theatre group.

Coun Davis said the inquiry would not be a "witch hunt", but rather remove the shadow of Osbourne’s tenure once and for all.

He said: "I’m holding it in the hope that it uncovers absolutely nothing, because that's what we all want.

"I hope we’ll come out with a clean bill of health, but if that’s the outcome it doesn’t mean the inquiry has been a failure.

"We’re not on a witch hunt."

The previous Lib Dem administration resisted Tory calls for an inquiry, citing a Met Police investigation which found Osbourne’s crimes were unconnected to his council role.

Coun Davis said: "The police were concerned about aspects of the charges brought against him.

"But what is illegal and what is inappropriate is something the inquiry needs to examine."

Coun Davis said the inquiry would examine Osbourne’s decision-making regarding funding, in particular youth groups, as well as his behaviour toward young people he came into contact with through his various public duties.

The chairman of the inquiry, who is yet to be appointed, would be independent "but understand how Kingston works", Coun Davis said.

He or she would be allowed to decide the scope of the investigation, with councillors from all three parties overseeing the process.

Coun Davis said he hoped to have a draft report of findings ready by autumn.

He also accepted the inquiry would cost money, but could not provide a figure. Former council leader Councillor Liz Green said the idea of an inquiry was discussed by the Lib Dems, but ultimately rejected.

She said: "My heart said yes we should have an inquiry, but my head said we weren’t going to achieve anything.

"I think they [the Conservatives] want to keep this going for as long as they can, and I think that’s the motive for wanting to do it, which is unhealthy for the council."

Labour's new Norbiton councillor Linsey Cottington said: "We have to make sure this isn't politically motivated, that it is in the best interests of children's services and is going to make a contribution to radically improving a service that needs radically improving."

Comments (6)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:14am Fri 13 Jun 14

Mick M says...

of course it is politically motivated. Nobody supports a pervert. this was brought up just before the local elections to remind people. I for one had forgotten all about it until then.
of course it is politically motivated. Nobody supports a pervert. this was brought up just before the local elections to remind people. I for one had forgotten all about it until then. Mick M
  • Score: 6

9:27am Fri 13 Jun 14

Dog whistle says...

Liz Greene's heart was right - her head wasn't. The police investigation had an entirely different focus, so to pre-determine the outcome of any council investigation was absurd.
Liz Greene's heart was right - her head wasn't. The police investigation had an entirely different focus, so to pre-determine the outcome of any council investigation was absurd. Dog whistle
  • Score: 6

10:24am Fri 13 Jun 14

kingstonpaul says...

This feels politically motivated, so I'm assuming that it's not being funded out of the public purse? Osborne has been tried by judge and jury, I can't see what the point of his further villification is.
This feels politically motivated, so I'm assuming that it's not being funded out of the public purse? Osborne has been tried by judge and jury, I can't see what the point of his further villification is. kingstonpaul
  • Score: 4

12:04pm Fri 13 Jun 14

reesmf says...

This had to be done and it's shameful that the previous administration tried to brush this subject under the carpet. The Council needs to discover if it could have done anything to uncover this situation and also whether it did impact on any aspect of the Council's working, e.g. relationships with staff. It is just a shame that this has a political taint when it clearly has nothing to do with politics, the Tories have already won the Council they have nothing further to gain politically by having this enquiry.
This had to be done and it's shameful that the previous administration tried to brush this subject under the carpet. The Council needs to discover if it could have done anything to uncover this situation and also whether it did impact on any aspect of the Council's working, e.g. relationships with staff. It is just a shame that this has a political taint when it clearly has nothing to do with politics, the Tories have already won the Council they have nothing further to gain politically by having this enquiry. reesmf
  • Score: 2

1:02pm Fri 13 Jun 14

R Batson says...

Children's safety and well being comes above any political agenda, interest or ideology. the suspicion of any such threat should and must be always investigated whatever party is involved. Even if its just to eliminate any fears. This should have occurred when it first arose, the Council constantly refused. Was that for a Political reason? I guess we must ask Liz Green the Former LibDem Council leader that one when she says publicly "My heart said YES my head said No" does that mean she knew she should as a human being who cares about children but as a Lib Dem leader Politically and ideology wise put that above the welfare of the borough's Children I don't know, guess she will have to explain her reasoning and thinking here to the public because the fact the Police did an investigation into child **** didn't explain why the Council as an Authority should not carry its legal responsibility and ensure the safety of children in its borough.

For a senior council officer to say to me in writing as a representative of the Council views below:

'I do not believe there are parallels, for instance, between the investigation into and prosecution of Mr Osbourne and other high profile probes and police operations such as the Jimmy Saville inquiry. Those concerned high profile figures who used their public image and presence to commit serious crimes against individuals on various premises. It is certainly the case that publicity surrounding the Saville investigation (and other similar investigations of high profile public figures) did, of course, lead to people coming forward with specific allegations and information. There was, of course, a lot of publicity around the Osbourne case and his conviction but this has not resulted, to date at least, in any further allegations'.

to which I responded:

The parallels I would have thought were obvious, Osbourne was a local high profile figure and now an infamous figure like the others. All of them therefore commanded unquestioned ‘trust’ due to their respective positions in society, Osbourne certainly committed his crimes as convicted in various places, the internet facilitated that. That wasn’t around when these others committed their crimes. The Rose Theatre was another place he frequented (Accepted we do not know what if anything happened here currently) Yes the others got publicity like the former Council leader, though theirs was much greater and far more National and because it was so many years ago the victims had become ADULTS with the strength to deal with what happened to them unlike these CHILDREN in the theatre allegation. So it is clear why those persons came forward and in this case why they perhaps haven’t. I.e. could it be that they are still children these potential victims.
So in conclusion from this summing up of what you have stated on behalf of the Council it follows logically that Kingston Council in effect, as a policy will not act to defend and protect children in its borough unless they have EVIDENCE, mere suspicion is not enough. To take that to its practical end the Council’s position therefore in this sort of case means, that the Council will in effect never act in such circumstances because the likely chance of it getting EVIDENCE without investigating (i.e. investigating and therefore going out to find some evidence) means it will never happen. We will never know unless it is investigated will we. (Rhetorical)
I am to say the least utterly shocked regarding the Council, a Public Authority response here. I do believe it to be utterly irresponsible, possibly negligent given these circumstances and that suspicion currently exists. I note you haven’t advised where one now takes this matter as requested but given this is your final response and as I said at the beginning, your sadly expected response, I have started to elevate this matter because CHILDREN must matter and must have their safety put above any other hidden agendas that maybe in existence. To that end please now lodge this matter as formal complaint with the Council as well. I cannot in all conscience let such a matter ‘as children’s safety’ rest with a Public Authority response such as this.

I can tell you as a fact that this formal complaint I made to this senior council officer has to date been ignored so far by the Council.
Children's safety and well being comes above any political agenda, interest or ideology. the suspicion of any such threat should and must be always investigated whatever party is involved. Even if its just to eliminate any fears. This should have occurred when it first arose, the Council constantly refused. Was that for a Political reason? I guess we must ask Liz Green the Former LibDem Council leader that one when she says publicly "My heart said YES my head said No" does that mean she knew she should as a human being who cares about children but as a Lib Dem leader Politically and ideology wise put that above the welfare of the borough's Children I don't know, guess she will have to explain her reasoning and thinking here to the public because the fact the Police did an investigation into child **** didn't explain why the Council as an Authority should not carry its legal responsibility and ensure the safety of children in its borough. For a senior council officer to say to me in writing as a representative of the Council views below: 'I do not believe there are parallels, for instance, between the investigation into and prosecution of Mr Osbourne and other high profile probes and police operations such as the Jimmy Saville inquiry. Those concerned high profile figures who used their public image and presence to commit serious crimes against individuals on various premises. It is certainly the case that publicity surrounding the Saville investigation (and other similar investigations of high profile public figures) did, of course, lead to people coming forward with specific allegations and information. There was, of course, a lot of publicity around the Osbourne case and his conviction but this has not resulted, to date at least, in any further allegations'. to which I responded: The parallels I would have thought were obvious, Osbourne was a local high profile figure and now an infamous figure like the others. All of them therefore commanded unquestioned ‘trust’ due to their respective positions in society, Osbourne certainly committed his crimes as convicted in various places, the internet facilitated that. That wasn’t around when these others committed their crimes. The Rose Theatre was another place he frequented (Accepted we do not know what if anything happened here currently) Yes the others got publicity like the former Council leader, though theirs was much greater and far more National and because it was so many years ago the victims had become ADULTS with the strength to deal with what happened to them unlike these CHILDREN in the theatre allegation. So it is clear why those persons came forward and in this case why they perhaps haven’t. I.e. could it be that they are still children these potential victims. So in conclusion from this summing up of what you have stated on behalf of the Council it follows logically that Kingston Council in effect, as a policy will not act to defend and protect children in its borough unless they have EVIDENCE, mere suspicion is not enough. To take that to its practical end the Council’s position therefore in this sort of case means, that the Council will in effect never act in such circumstances because the likely chance of it getting EVIDENCE without investigating (i.e. investigating and therefore going out to find some evidence) means it will never happen. We will never know unless it is investigated will we. (Rhetorical) I am to say the least utterly shocked regarding the Council, a Public Authority response here. I do believe it to be utterly irresponsible, possibly negligent given these circumstances and that suspicion currently exists. I note you haven’t advised where one now takes this matter as requested but given this is your final response and as I said at the beginning, your sadly expected response, I have started to elevate this matter because CHILDREN must matter and must have their safety put above any other hidden agendas that maybe in existence. To that end please now lodge this matter as formal complaint with the Council as well. I cannot in all conscience let such a matter ‘as children’s safety’ rest with a Public Authority response such as this. I can tell you as a fact that this formal complaint I made to this senior council officer has to date been ignored so far by the Council. R Batson
  • Score: 1

1:39pm Fri 13 Jun 14

kingstonpaul says...

I'm sure that in the current 'Yewtree' climate, if there has been any abuse, victims will present themselves to the police, and their allegations will be subject to the due process of law. Are we aware that any allegations have been brought?
I'm sure that in the current 'Yewtree' climate, if there has been any abuse, victims will present themselves to the police, and their allegations will be subject to the due process of law. Are we aware that any allegations have been brought? kingstonpaul
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree