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Brighton and Hove city councillor faces suspension over YouTube footage
A councillor is facing suspension for putting webcasts of council meetings onto YouTube.
Jason Kitcat, who is a green Brighton and Hove City Councillor representing Regency ward, stood before the Standards Committee Assessment Panel this morning accused of being in breach of the Members Code of Conduct.
The complaint was made by Councillor Ted Kemble in February 2009 and relates to five video clips posted by Coun Kitcat on YouTube.
Three of the clips feature Coun Kitcat asking councillors Mary Mears and Geoffrey Theobald about matters relating to communal bins and their responses. All the clips are from Cabinet and Full Council meetings which took place in December 2008 and February 2009.
This "highly" edited clip shows Geoffrey Theobald and the Mayor.
Coun Kemble complained that Coun Kitcat had 'failed to treat his fellow councillors with respect, by posting the clips without the prior knowledge or express permission of Councillor Theobald or Councillor Mears; and had abused council facilities by infringing the copyright in the webcast images'.
The investigator's report found that he had not treated councillors with disrespect or broken the reasonable requirements of the council in using the clips.
However, it did find that his use of the video was political and improper, particularly in regard to the fifth, "highly edited" clip, which shows Geoffrey Theobald saying he wished he could sometimes answer questions, and the Mayor agreeing with him.
The panel also found Coun Kitcat in breach of the code and have asked him to send a written apology to Coun Theobald. He has also been told to undertake training on the Members Code of Conduct.
Coun Kitcat denies breaching the code of conduct and has said he will appeal the panel's decision.
A council spokeswoman said Coun Kitcat would face suspension until the apology had been sent but that he had 28 days to appeal the decision.
She added that the training would have to be undertaken within three months, although this excluded the appeal period.