Keighley Town Council can confirm that it had a general form of judgement order filed by the Claimant MH-P Ltd (former website former). The hearing was allocated at the County Court at Skipton on 23rd December 2015 at 2.00pm. The Council agreed in August 2015 to defend the case and the Acting Town Clerk Ms Safia Kauser (at the time, now Town Clerk) filed the defence and 27 exhibits of evidence to support the case. Councillor Westerman and the Mayor were assigned by the Council to assist with the Councils defence. The decision taken by the Council to defend the case was on a point of principal and to further safeguard the public purse.
The Town Clerk/RFO and the Mayor, Councillor Javaid Akhtar accompanied by Councillors Westerman and Councillor Curtis who acted as the Spokesperson attended the court hearing this afternoon. The Claimant Mike Henson did not attend. The Judge in the case took all of the Councils comprehensive defence into acccount and the case within 3 minutes was dismissed. The Judge confirmed that Mr Henson filed the court paper and one invoice in support of his claim that the Council has failed to pay the invoice, but no papers in support of MH-Ps claim were received by the Court. However the Council can confirm that the claimants case papers in support of his claim were received by the Council on 28 September 2015. From that paperwork, it was noted that former Town Councillor and current district Councillor Brian Morris had supported the Claimants case by providing a witness statement.
The Council can now disclose that it did offer Mr Henson a settlement without prejudice of £300.00 in August 2015. Mr Henson declined this offer and stated that ‘Any offer for the full amount of the claim must be accompanied by a full public apology or an enhanced offer to compensate’.
Town Clerks Comments, Ms Safia Kauser:
‘Mr Henson along with a former Councillor, has tried to damage the Councils reputation. I am amazed at the lack of business ethics and morals applied by Mr Henson during his dealings with the Council and for someone who claims they specialise in developing websites for the sector for many years, resorted to personal attacks. Mr Henson has in my opinion tried to take advantage of the Council’s vulnerability during a time of crisis and transition (since the audit reports) by making threats and claims of non-payments and to further bring down the Councils reputation.
Town Mayor comments, Cllr Javaid Akhtar:
‘I am happy that the court has dismissed the case. However I am very disappointed at the antics and tactics used by MH-P Ltd, in particular to the open letter posted on our former website without the Councils permission. The Council always dealt professionally with MH-P Ltd but on the other hand, Mr Henson harassed and bullied Council staff by electronic communications. Mr Henson also breached his own companies terms and conditions on a number of occassions. It is with further disappointment to note that a former Town Cllr and current District Clllr Morris supported the Claimants case by providing a witness statement which leads to question who’s interests does Cllr Morris serve, the people of Keighley or a southern based company?’. I would like to thank Cllr Westerman and Curtis in assisting with the case and in particular to the Town Clerk and Financial Officer, Ms Kauser who wrote the Councils defence with the supporting evidence that saved the Council considerable litigation costs’.
Councillor Westermans comments:
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‘I spoke to Mr Henson on behalf of the Council to make an out of court settlement which he refused on more than one occasion. Mr Henson refused to accept and said he would like to see the Council have a county court judgement against it. Having read the Councils defence myself, I firmly believed we had a good case to defend’.