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Latham's early account to the the Labour group following the outcome of Terry Hurlstone's  trial.

I am writing to all Members of the Group with regard to the recent Court Case at Snaresbrook.
Hurlstone was found guilty of assault and the jury did not by the required majority of 10-2 convict him of theft. (I believe it was 9-3 against him, in fact.) ( Not so, Hurlestone was unanimously aquitted of the theft charge, an early example of fake news by Latham. The jury's verdicts are a matter of public record. Del Smith.)
What the newspapers have not reported is that the Judge was quite censorious about violence by a man of mature years and was very fierce indeed about an apparently fraudulent declaration made by Hurlstone to secure Legal Aid. The Judge ordered a full police investigation of Hurlstone's financial circumstances and postponed sentence until February 14th to allow time for this to be completed. I know that there is also a benefit fraud to be investigated and a possible charge of forgery in connection with the Jessie Hurlstone Memorial Fund. Altogether, he seems to be a nastier piece of work than many had already suspected.
It is a great pity that the newspapers locally went to town so much on his allegations against me, but I suppose this is not surprising, even though local journalists had been saying that the story was "old hat". The trouble was that, as the Defendant, Hurlstone had the last word and no witnesses could be recalled at this stage in his trial when new foul and untrue claims were being made against me. He told a pack of lies with specific shreds of truth and it is no wonder he was able to bamboozle the jurors on the matter of theft and a cause for relief that they at least recognised the absurdity of his counter claim that I had assaulted him!
I know that many colleagues will have felt disquiet at what was in the papers.   The fact is, however, that there was very little not already known to the Group since last March. The construction I gave to it all then is the same as I testified in Court.   If, however, there are points which it would still be helpful for me to comment upon, I will readily do so.
Hurlstone claimed that his antics had something to do with bringing our Administration down. All Members know that is totally untrue, as was his previous boast that he and Smith had set our Administration up!
The political situation remains the same.   Tories/RAs and Defectors for the time being control the Council.    Our task is to win a working majority in our own right in May 1988.   That is what I am sure we are all committed to doing.


Arthur Latham 24.12.96

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