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Sandwell blogger to stand trial for 'harassing' council boss

By Dayna Farrington | Sandwell | Crime | Published:

A controversial blogger is to stand trial for allegedly using insulting words to a Black Country council chief executive.

Julian Saunders arrives at Dudley Magistrates court to face charges of harassment.

Julian Saunders, of Chelworth Road, Birmingham, appeared at Dudley Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

The 60-year-old pleaded not guilty to using threatening/abusive/insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment/alarm/distress to Sandwell Council’s chief executive Jan Britton, under section four of the Public Order Act 1986.

The allegation relates to an incident which took place in Oldbury on May 22.

The Crown Prosecution Service had made an application to prevent Saunders from cross-examining any prosecution witnesses during the trial, which was rejected by the court.

District Judge Graham Wilkinson granted him unconditional bail.

He will next appear for trial on October 23 at Dudley Magistrates Court.

Saunders, who tweets under @SandwellSkidder and describes himself as ‘Sandwell’s Controversial Blogger’, later said on Twitter: “I cannot comment on case but I am for trial on 23rd October at Dudley Mags.”

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Saunders previously had his Twitter account suspended over allegations of ‘harassment’ in March 2015.

At the time, he tweeted as @bcrover and his account was shut down by Twitter following complaints by Sandwell Council's former leader Darren Cooper.

He had been writing blogs and sending tweets criticising the council and questioning the way it made some of its decisions.

Mr Cooper complained to the social network that he was being 'harassed' for 18 months.

Saunders' Twitter account was closed down on March 13, 2015, before being reinstated days later on March 23.

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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