Councillor avoids jail after pleading guilty to carrying knife into court
A councillor has been given a suspended jail term after admitting carrying a knife with him to court.
Councillor Jeff Milburn, who represents Cleadon and East Boldon as an Independent Conservative member on South Tyneside Council, admitted possession of a bladed article - a lock knife – before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court at a hearing this week.
The 61-year-old, of Sunniside Lane in Cleadon, could now be disqualified from his role on the council as his sentence passes the threshold set down by the Government.
At a hearing on Monday July 20, the court heard that Milburn had been found to be in possession of a knife when he attended South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court earlier this year on Friday, January 10.
Milburn pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four months in prison, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay a £121 victim surcharge and £85 in court costs.
He was also given a 12-month community order, which will include 20 days of activities and the court ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the weapon.
The council’s constitution which reflects Government guidance states that anyone who is given a jail term of up to three months, whether that is suspended or not, can no longer act in the role.
It states: “Only registered voters of the Borough or those living or working there will be eligible to hold the office of councillor.
“Any person who holds paid office or employment with the council, or has been made subject to a bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order or has in the last five years had a sentence of imprisonment of not less than three months (whether suspended or not) imposed upon them, is disqualified from being a councillor.”
In an earlier version of this report, it detailed how in January this year, Councillor Milburn was given an 18-month driving ban and a 12-month community order after he was found guilty of failing to provide a specimen following a trial.
He subsequently applied to magistrates to remove his driving disqualification pending the outcome of an appeal against his sentence.
That was refused by South Tyneside Magistrates' Court on January 15, but a month later, a judge sitting at Newcastle Crown Court agreed to restore the licence for the period up to his appeal.
The appeal is scheduled to be heard by the crown court in October.
We are happy to clarify this.
Coun Milburn served as a Conservative councillor until spring 2019 when he was expelled from the party after claims he had used racist language, an allegation he has always denied.