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Sex attack conman councillor guilty of breaching standards

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'In June last year, Clarke narrowly escaped jail after he admitted defrauding Drumaroad Community Regeneration Scheme of nearly £2,000 that was meant for the rebuilding of a church hall'

'In June last year, Clarke narrowly escaped jail after he admitted defrauding Drumaroad Community Regeneration Scheme of nearly £2,000 that was meant for the rebuilding of a church hall'

'In June last year, Clarke narrowly escaped jail after he admitted defrauding Drumaroad Community Regeneration Scheme of nearly £2,000 that was meant for the rebuilding of a church hall'

A councillor has been found guilty of breaching standards in the first case of its kind in Northern Ireland.

The ground-breaking public adjudication hearing in Downpatrick found independent Newry, Mourne and Down District councillor Patrick Clarke failed to comply with the code of conduct.

The charges against him included a drunken sexual assault in the Slieve Donard Hotel, for which he was given probation, and fraud charges, for which the 42-year-old former Alliance councillor was handed a suspended sentence.

Acting Commissioner Ian Gordon said that "after a careful consideration of all the facts, I have exercised my discretion to adjourn a decision on the sanction to a later date".

Mr Clarke has also been convicted of swindling £750 from the Dundrum Village Association in September 2014 by lodging a cheque from the Housing Executive meant for the village group into his own account.

He was given a seven-month jail term, suspended for three years.

In June last year, Clarke narrowly escaped jail after he admitted defrauding Drumaroad Community Regeneration Scheme of nearly £2,000 that was meant for the rebuilding of a church hall.

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In September 2015, he was arrested when a neighbour told police Clarke had "forced his way" into his home, armed with a hammer, and smashed a ceramic cup.


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