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Former Lancashire County Council leader among four men charged in long-running police probe

Posted on - 23rd August, 2022 - 3:40pm | Author - | Posted in - Crime, Fulwood, Lancashire Police, Politics, Preston News
Geoff Driver retained his Preston North seat and is leader of the Lancashire Conservatives
Geoff Driver

Former Lancashire County Council leader Geoff Driver has received a court summons to face a charge of ‘Taking Revenge’ under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act.

Geoff Driver, 77, of Hoylake Close, Preston, is among four men due to attend court after being summonsed to appear in connection with Lancashire Constabulary’s Operation Sheridan.

Lancashire Constabulary launched Operation Sheridan in 2013 following allegations of ‘financial irregularity’ made by Lancashire County Council.

Read more: Appeal to find witness after serious assault on Church Street 

Councillor Geoff Driver Pic: Lancashire County Council
Former Lancashire County Councillor Geoff Driver Pic: Lancashire County Council

A Lancashire County Council spokesperson said: “We note police have announced that three former senior members of staff and the former council leader have been summonsed to appear in court.

“This was part of a police investigation into historical, alleged incidents of misconduct involving Lancashire County Council and other organisations.

“We have been cooperating fully with the police throughout the investigation, which relates to allegations from many years ago.

“None of those summonsed still work for Lancashire County Council. The council is focused on our future, not the past. Our priority continues to provide the vital, everyday services that the people of Lancashire rely on.

“As this is now in the hands of the courts, we cannot make any further comment at this stage.”

Read more: Appeal to trace witnesses after Preston city centre assault

On completion of the investigation, during which Lancashire Police worked closely with Merseyside Police, Lancashire County Council and Liverpool City Council, they referred the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service, who authorised charges for four individuals.

Including Driver, they are: 

Dr David McElhinney, 62, of Ormskirk Road, Knowsley, was summonsed to face charges of misconduct in public office and procuring misconduct in public office.

Philip Halsall, 64, of Hesketh Road, Southport, was summonsed to face charges of misconduct in public office and procuring misconduct in public office.

Gerald Fitzgerald, 60, of Dover Road, Birkdale, was summonsed to face charges of misconduct in public office and aiding and abetting misconduct in public office.

Read more: Man wanted after serious assault on Fulwood shop assistant

All four men had been served with postal requisition orders this week and are due to appear at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, 12 October 2022.

Four other men aged 62, 64, 66 and 68 received letters earlier this year and were told they would face no further action.

Lancashire Constabulary has reminded all concerned that criminal proceedings against these defendants are active, and they have a right to a fair trial.

They said it is ‘extremely important’ that there is no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online that could prejudice these proceedings.



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