Calderdale Councillor cleared of assault

Councillor Daniel Sutherland leaves Bradford Magistrates Court.
Councillor Daniel Sutherland leaves Bradford Magistrates Court.

A Calderdale councillor has been cleared of assaulting his ex-girlfriend.

Daniel Sutherland (Lab, Illingworth/Mixenden) was charged with assaulting Monika Szews at West Parade, Halifax, on June 24.

But last night after a day-long hearing at Bradford Magistrates Court he walked free after a judge found him not guiilty .

District Judge Richard Clews said: “Ultimately, I am not sure of what did happen and in that sense this case could be called a draw, nobody wins.”

After the hearing Coun Sutherland, of Valley View, Halifax, said he was relieved.

“I am very happy with the result,” he said.

“I have learned a lot of lessons.

“This has come from a former girlfriend who was bitter because I wanted to end the relationship.

“I’m looking forward to getting back on with my life.”

Councillor Sutherland, 24, said he intended to resume his position as chairman of Calderdale Council’s planning committee. He is currently suspended.

The court was told how Coun Sutherland and Miss Szews had been in a relationship for about 18 months but in May last year they split before resuming the relationship at the end of June.

On the evening of the alleged incident Coun Sutherland had been at a barbecue with friends and Miss Szews had been out with friends in Halifax town centre for her 27th birthday.

She told the court that they had a loose arrangement to meet up afterwards.

But, after Coun Sutherland hadn’t answered her messages she decided to go to the barbecue as she was worried.

Miss Szews told the court they went to her flat but when they arrived the alleged assault happened.

Coun Sutherland, giving evidence, told the judge that he knew Miss Szews liked a drink but it started to become a problem.

The court heard there had been a number of incidents where she had lost her temper when she had had a drink and Daniel Sutherland decided to break up with her.

And, when she turned up at the party he left with her because he didn’t want trouble at his friend’s house and the couple wrestled at her flat.

“I was terrified and shouting she was going to kill me,” he said.

“I was shouting at her to get off me and to stop. There was a lot of shouting on both sides.”