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Herne Bay Councillor goes on trial for corruption alongside propery developer

Cllr Roger Matthews
Cllr Roger Matthews

by Keith Hunt

A Canterbury city councillor and an estate agent and property developer have gone on trial on corruption charges.

Cllr Roger Matthews (pictured left) corruptly received benefit by way of unpaid rent as a reward for promoting the interests of Julian Brealy and two of his companies, Herne Bay Golf Club and Hollanby Estates Ltd, it was alleged.

"Mr Matthews effectively lived rent free," said prosecutor Anthony Haycroft. "That is an offence - for receiving a corrupt gift."

Brealy, 51, was accused of giving a corrupt gift by letting 58-year-old Matthews live rent free as a reward for almost six years between May 1 2002 and July 16 2008.

Maidstone Crown Court heard Matthews was elected to represent Herne Bay Ward in 1995. In 2003, he represented neighbouring Greenhill and Eddington and sat on a planning committee.

He had been voted onto the decision making council executive in May 2002.

Matthews had lived at a flat in Herne Bay since 1996. His landlord was Hollanby Estates. Brealy was managing director and a shareholder of family business Hollanby.

The company had an office at Herne Bay Golf Club, where Brealy was a director and shareholder.

Mr Haycroft said Matthews on occasions failed to declare an interest when Brealy's business interests applied for planning permission for various projects.

"We are entitled to expect our local politicians to act properly and not act corruptly," he said.

Matthews, of Beltinge Road, Herne Bay, and Brealy, of Mandarin Lane, Herne Bay, deny corruption.

The trial continues.

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