A public hearing at Brighton’s Metropole Hotel about councillor misconduct on Wednesday promises to make an interesting piece of municipal theatre.

Councillor Jason Kitcat has appealed after Brighton and Hove City Council’s standards committee found him guilty of misconduct for posting clips of a council meeting on YouTube.

The Tribunals Service for Local Government Standards in England has booked the Ambassador Suite at the Metropole for 9.30am to hear his case.

It is a large room on the ground floor with all mod cons including a hearing loop. As the hotel itself puts it: “A delightful room situated off the main foyer of the hotel, with an arched ceiling incorporating a stunning art deco style central dome.

“It comfortably accommodates a maximum of 150 guests and is the perfect setting for a memorable (event)."

Readers who have been following this saga will know that Cllr Kitcat was hauled up in front of Standards Committee Hearing Panel on July 9, 2010 as a result of a complaint by a fellow councillor.

He was accused of abusing his position as a councillor by posting video clips on YouTube grabbed from the council’s web site.

The panel found two of the charges proven and he was told, or asked, to apologise to Cllr Theobald. He did not.

However, they found he had not broken the reasonable requirements of the council’s protocol.

Instead, he has appealed to the national board, even though he runs the risk of incurring a heavier penalty, such as six months suspension.

Further details are not easy to find out as the minutes of the original hearing are only in draft form and not made public until the next meeting of the Standards Committee on January 18, 2011.

The grounds of his appeal are not in the public domain until the hearing either, but it could be that he will object to the fact that the investigating officer took evidence only from hostile witnesses, for example.

The grounds could even be that the panel were not paying enough attention to what he was arguing and they had made up their minds already.

Even from what information is available now, it will be interesting piece of municipal theatre.

Part of the case against Cllr Kitcat is that he used the clips he posted on YouTube for political purposes and used council resources to do so, albeit at intangible or minimal cost to the council.

The council will sell you a DVD of any particular meeting for £35, for example. He did it without permission, payment or innocently.

As the report concludes: “Cllr Kitcat did use the council’s IT facilities improperly for political purposes. Most of the clips are about communal bins, a politically contentious issue at the time.

“Most tellingly, clip number five shows the Cabinet Member responsible for communal bins in an unflattering and politically unfavourable light, and it is hard to avoid the conclusion that this highly abridged clip was selected and posted for political gain.”

Clip number five

Interestingly, the investigating officer had concluded that the Code of Conduct was not broken with regard to the 12-second clip showing Cllr Theobald saying: “ I wish I could have answered these questions but I [and then the mayor interrupts]” even though it was captioned: Cllr Theobald: Sometimes wishes he could answer questions.

The rationale for that conclusion was that the threshold for disrespectful conduct is higher in relation to allegations about behaviour towards another councillor than for behaviour against an officer or member of the public: i.e. councillors should be thick skinned enough to put up with a bit of humour which a member of the public would not be expected to put up with.

(Put in context, Cllr Theobald’s apparently bumbling remark gets a whole different meaning, rather like “Let Him Have It” when uttered just before the cop was gunned down.

Three members of the public had tabled questions for Cllr Theobald and the mayor had ruled that if the questioner was not present only a written reply was needed.) In the event, the panel decided that the clip was demeaning enough to constitute disrespect.

The last laugh at the moment must be what Eric Pickles MP had to say in Parliament last week: “The latest example of that concerns a Green party councillor, Jason Kitcat, who placed unofficial video footage of a council meeting on his website. He has been referred to the board for not showing his council respect.

“With the joyous news of the Lady Thatcher's improving health, perhaps I could say to Councillor Kitcat: ‘YouTube if you want to.’”

Laugh? It must be the way he tells them.

This story was corrected on November 3, 2010 to make it clear the panel found Cllr Kitcat was guilty of two, not three, of the misconduct charges.