Former county council leader delighted with criminal damage acquittal but furious at late charge of cycling without due care and attention

FORMER Cambs County Council leader Shona Johnstone took to Twitter today to claim vindication for being cleared of criminal damage but to criticise the prosecution for a late additional charge.

Cllr Johnstone was furious as she shared news of her court battle with her 313 ‘followers’ on the social media site.

“Is it reasonable to wait five months, 30 days and 23 hours before laying a second charge?” she protested. “In other words an hour before the time limit expired.”

Cllr Johnstone was fined �350 with costs of �140 by Cambridge magistrates yesterday for cycling without due care and attention.

However on the more serious charge- of deliberately breaking the wing mirror of a car- she was cleared.

Magistrates told Cllr Johnstone that her cycling fell below the required standard.

Cllr Johnstone remains furious that the prosecution was brought and of the damage it did to her election chances of winning the Tory Party nomination for police commissioner.

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She has been publicly rebuked by county council leader Nick Clarke over an unrelated Local Government Association matter, isolated within his Cabinet team, and suspended from the Tory group pending this trial. That suspension is now likely to be lifted.

On Twitter Cllr Johnstone said she was “discussing the basis of an appeal with my lawyer but it all costs money and I don’t know whether I can afford it.”

She said she only found about the second charge – of cycling without due and attention- the day before.

“Is it reasonable to lay a second charge at 4pm the day before the hearing and expect my lawyer to have time to prepare a defence,” she said.

The former council leader added that she was “delighted to have been cleared of the charge of criminal damage. The case against me was a complete fabrication “

Today it was back to normal – attending a meeting of the Cambridgeshire Police Authority.

“Irony” she tweeted before setting off to the meeting.