‘Planning concerns’ court proceedings against Falkirk councillors dropped

Over 16 months after they were charged by police over “planning concerns” Councillors John McLuckie and James Kerr have been told there will be no court proceedings against them.

By James Trimble
Thursday, 13th February 2020, 1:12 pm
Updated Thursday, 13th February 2020, 3:44 pm

The Crown Office confirmed the case, which had been running since September, 2018, was no longer active.

A Crown Office spokesperson said: “The Procurator Fiscal received a report relating to three males aged 50, 55 and 64 and incidents said to have occurred between October 16, 2017 and June 7, 2018.

“After careful consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case, including the available admissible evidence, the Procurator Fiscal decided there should be no proceedings taken at this time.

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“The Crown reserves the right to proceed in the future should further evidence become available.”

The Falkirk Herald contacted both Councillor McLuckie and Councillor Kerr via telephone and e-mail this morning.

Councillor Kerr said: “Both myself and my family are absolutely delighted to be cleared of all charges. It has been a stressful time for all. The one thing that didn’t stop, was my commitment to helping the residents of upper Braes and beyond “

Councillor McLuckie added: “Myself and my family are delighted with the news. It has been a stressful time for us all to be accused of something you had not done. It led me to stress and to be treated for depression.

“I have been a local councillor for 12 years and a local community activist for a great many years previously working to improve the quality of life in the braes. I do not intend that changing and thank all those members of the community who had faith in and supported me during that time.”

In September 2018 councillors McLuckie and Kerr – along with a third man – were charged following an investigation by Police Scotland’s economic crime and financial investigation unit.

At the time a Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Three men have been charged following an investigation into planning concerns raised in Falkirk. The men, aged 50, 55 and 63 were charged on September 19 and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”

Labour’s Mr McLuckie was depute convener of the council’s planning committee at the time and Conservative James Kerr was a member of the planning committee.

The two councillors, who both represent the Upper Braes ward, were subsequently suspended by their parties.

Mr McLuckie has been a councillor since 2007, while Mr Kerr was elected in 2017.