Northampton

Adam Simmonds trial: Peter Bone 'amazed' details of fraud probe shared

Peter Bone Image copyright PA
Image caption Peter Bone said it was a "complete surprise" that a fellow MP knew details of a police probe

An MP has told a court he was "amazed" that details of a police investigation into fraud allegations had been shared, despite reassurances the issue would remain private.

Former Northamptonshire Police and Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds denies recklessly sharing details of a probe involving Wellingborough MP Peter Bone.

Mr Bone told Southwark Crown Court it was a "complete surprise" when a fellow MP told him details about the case.

That investigation was later dropped.

Former Conservative PCC Mr Simmonds is accused of discussing the probe with politicians including MPs within the Tory party and using information from briefings gained in his role.

Mr Bone, also a Conservative, told the court he was assured by police officers the matter was being dealt with confidentially after his home was searched in March 2013.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Adam Simmonds was described as being an "excellent PCC"

But he said he found the "rumour mill" was in "full swing" about the allegations about him and his wife, Jeanette, relating to the payment of fees for the care of an elderly relative.

"One of the key moments was when Thomas Pursglove, now the MP for Corby and East Northamptonshire, told me that he had been told by a county councillor quite considerable detail about the investigation, and that was a complete surprise," he said.

'Completely bogus'

Mr Bone said he had known Mr Simmonds for "a long time" and thought he was "an excellent PCC".

Asked by the prosecution if he was upset by the alleged unlawful sharing of information, Mr Bone said: "I couldn't understand how the PCC's office could have passed that information on to anyone else."

Mr Bone said the allegations against him had been "completely bogus and made up". The Crown Prosecution Service announced it would not bring any charges against him and his wife in March 2014.

The court has heard Mr Simmonds was updated on the investigation into Mr Bone in emails sent between Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable Adrian Lee and his deputy Martin Jelley.

Mr Simmonds is alleged to have disclosed the information in conversations with Conservative politicians Michael Ellis, MP for Northampton North, MP for Daventry Chris Heaton-Harris, Paul Bell and David Mackintosh.

Mr Lee said he had not expected Mr Simmonds to disclose information about the investigation into Mr Bone, except to senior colleagues within the office of the PCC.

"I'm very clear I didn't give permission and permission was never sought," he said.

Mr Bone made a formal complaint about Mr Simmonds, who was charged following an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Mark Harries, defending, has said Mr Simmonds does not dispute the facts he received information by email and had brief conversations about the investigation.

The trial continues.

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