Ex-councillor’s jail sentence for refusing to pay Council Tax

A FORMER Conservative councillor has been sentenced to 45 days in jail for wilfully refusing to pay more than �1,200 in Council Tax to the authority of which he used to be a member.

The sentence imposed by Huntingdonshire Magistrates on Paul Dakers, of Burstellars, St Ives, was suspended for a month to allow time for him to repay the �1,211 debt.

At the same court on Tuesday, Mohammed Sharif, of Othello Close, Huntingdon, who had Council Tax arrears of �4,185.96, was committed to prison for three months. The sentence was suspended for as long as he continues to repay the arrears at �400 per month. He admitted having the money to pay the debt, but not doing so.

In both cases if the court orders are not paid, then the suspended sentences will be removed and the debtors will be sent to prison.

The prosecutor for Huntingdonshire District Council told the court that it had attempted to obtain payment firstly by trying to make payment arrangements, and eventually by instructing bailiffs to remove possessions for sale at auction. However, these attempts were unsuccessful. This left the council with no option but to apply for the debtors to be committed to prison for failing to pay their Council Tax, HDC said.

Mr Dakers, who at one point announced his intention to stand in tomorrow’s election for police and crime commissioner, was district councillor for Fenstanton from 2007 until suddenly resigning in mid-December 2009, claiming elected members were being gagged by political parties.