Councillor Stephanos Ioannou -Breech of Councillor Code of ConductNotice ID: WAT1069723
Councillor Stephanos loannou -Breech of Councillor Code of Conduct
This is to give notice that Councillor Stephanos loannou has been found to be in breach of the Enfield Council Councillor Code of Conduct in relation to a post made on his Facebook Page. The post shared a Sun Newspaper article originally published on 5th August 1974, which referred to Turkish people as "Barbarians" and stated, "Shame on them'. In his post Councillor loannou put "Lest we Forget" in Greek.
Four members of the public complained and alleged that Councillor loannou had breached the Councillor Code of Conduct. The Complainants alleged that the posting of the newspaper front page article from the 1970s amounted to spreading hate speech and was deeply offensive to the Turkish Cypriot Community.
These allegations were investigated and the Council's Monitoring Officer determined that Councillor loannou had been in breach of the following sections of the Councillor Code of Conduct:
You have a duty to uphold the law, including the general law against discrimination and the requirements of the Localism Act, and to act on all occasions in accordance with the public trust placed in you.
Respect for Others
You should promote equality by not discriminating unlawfully against any person, and by treating people with respect, regardless of their race, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability.
Expectations of Conduct
You shall at all times conduct yourself in a manner which will maintain and strengthen the public's trust and confidence in the integrity of the Authority and never undertake any action which would bring the Authority, you or other members or officers generally, into disrepute.
Rules of Conduct
You shall observe the following rules when acting as a Member or co-opted Member of the Authority:
- Treat others with respect and courtesy
- You should not conduct yourself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing your office or authority into disrepute.
The reasons for the determination included that the post referred to in the complaint, had been aimed at one ethnic group, Turkish Cypriots and therefore the lack of respect was linked to race, the post was offensive, had caused distress and could be considered racist. Although Councillor loannou had not discriminated directly against any individual neither had he "treated people with respect regardless of their race". He had treated one ethnic group disrespectfully. As Councillor loannou had breached several parts of the code and his conduct had been deeply offensive to several members of the public, his actions had bought him into disrepute.
Councillor loannou accepted that he had breached the code, agreed to attend race awareness training, and offered to apologise privately to the complainants. Two of the complainants did not feel that a private apology was acceptable and appealed the Monitoring Officer decision, requesting that Councillor loannou make a public apology on the Facebook site that the original post had been be made.
The Councillor Conduct Committee considered this matter on 11 December 2018. In reviewing the sanctions available, the Committee agreed that a public apology on the same social media platform as the original complaint was an appropriate sanction to impose. As Councillor loannou has failed to apologise on his Facebook page, in the required timeframe, the Council is publishing the decision as required by the Committee.
Director of Law & Governance Monitoring Officer