Council boss cleared of sex charge

A council chief executive was cleared today of raping a female colleague he met when she was drunk in a bar.

Byron Davies, 52, who ran Conwy County Council in north Wales, took the married 26-year-old to his flat where they had sex.



The jury at Mold Crown Court found him not guilty of raping the colleague, who claimed she had no recollection of what happened and was too drunk to consent to sex.











Mr Davies, a divorced father of two daughters from Yelverton, Devon, nodded in acknowledgement as the jury of seven women and five men returned their unanimous verdict following an hour and 15 minutes of deliberations.

Judge Niclas Parry told him he could leave the dock, saying: "Mr Davies, you came into this court a respected man of good character and you leave with that good character intact."



The local authority chief executive has been suspended from his job since last March when police launched the rape investigation.



The trial, which began on Monday, heard he met the woman in the bar at the Castle Hotel in Conwy on March 23 last year.



She was drunk after spending the evening with a friend and approached the defendant, who was sitting alone, and asked if he was Byron Davies because she believed she recognised him.



Although they both worked for Conwy Council, they did not know each other.



They fell into conversation, the court heard, and he bought her another of the strong beers she had been drinking that evening.



"Her recollection became somewhat blurred after that drink," prosecutor John Philpotts said.



The woman told the jury she remembered leaving the pub in the defendant's car and arriving at his flat in nearby Deganwy.



She said she had a vague memory of Mr Davies "coming on to her", touching her and kissing her on the lips, but she pushed him away.



The next thing she remembered was being woken up by him tapping her on the shoulder and telling her that it was morning.



He also suggested that they should have another "quick one" before going to work, the court heard.



The woman left the flat telling Mr Davies he had "the wrong idea about her".



Davies was arrested at his flat just after midnight on March 25 and in interview he denied rape. Davies told the jury he was flattered by the attention of an "attractive and flirtatious" woman half his age.



He said the woman asked him more than once whether he had a room at the Castle Hotel before he said she willingly accompanied him to his home. But he also felt she was "pushy" and had "targeted" him that night.



He said he was "anxious and nervous" when he took her back to his flat and at one stage took a tablet to help with his sexual performance.

















Speaking outside court, Mr Davies, who believed the victim was not as drunk as she later claimed to be, said the investigation had left him "devastated" and "angry".

He had stinging criticism of the conduct of the investigation by North Wales Police and the Crown Prosecution Service.



Mr Davies said: "Obviously I am absolutely delighted and thrilled with the decision that has been reached today.



"For anybody that knows me that decision was never in question.



"I am very angry about the case that has been brought against me.



"The woman concerned clearly was lying but I do have an element of sympathy for her and she may require some kind of psychiatric help in the future."



Mr Davies said he had a grievance against the Crown Prosecution Service and North Wales Police for their conduct during the case.



He said a toxicology report had the wrong labelling, CCTV had the wrong timing and described it as "lazy policing".



He also said he would take further action, through his solicitors, over actions of senior police officers in relation to the investigation, describing it as "most disappointing".



Mr Davies thanked his legal team and "people in Conwy who have supported me through this period".



"Most of all I would like to thank my family, in particular my uncle in Swansea and my two children for the love and support they have shown to me throughout this horrendous period," he added.



Asked how the events had taken their toll, he said: "It has been devastating. Having said that, when you're down in life you're certainly not out and I am looking forward to the future."





















In a statement following the verdict, Conwy County Council said Mr Davies remains suspended from his job until the outcome of a disciplinary investigation.

A spokeswoman said: "Following his arrest at the end of March, the council started a disciplinary investigation into matters relating to the arrest.



"Such disciplinary investigations against chief executives are undertaken by someone independent of the council.



"The council and Mr Davies's representative agreed that John Bowers QC should be appointed to carry out that investigation, which continues.



"The council will be seeking to bring matters to a conclusion as soon as possible."



















Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash