A Luton Borough councillor kept his post for more than a year after being convicted of a knife crime, the Herald & Post can exclusively reveal.
At Luton Magistrates Court on October 1 Melvin Cato, 56, of Farley Hill, was handed a four month jail sentence, suspended for 12 months, for being in possession of a bread knife at a Luton pharmacy.
Beds Police has said that at 10.45am on July 10 officers were called to a ’disturbance’ at the Medici Medical Practice, Windsor Street, where a man was reported to be in possession of a knife.
Cato was detained at the scene.
While covering the case the Herald & Post has learned that at the time of the offence Cato was on a 36 month conditional discharge for another conviction in January 2014, handed to him after he was found in possession of a bladed article in public.
At the time of the original case Cato was a Labour councillor for the Crawley ward but despite the conviction was kept on to represent the ward for the next 14 months.
He no longer sits on the council after not contesting his seat in May’s local election.
Cllr David Franks, Luton Borough Council’s Lib Dem group leader, questioned Labour’s decision to keep Cato on.
He said: “If a Lib Dem councillor was convicted of an offence I would expect him or her to resign, no question.
“(Labour) do have the attitude that they can get away with anything and that is a shame as it leads to a decline in standards.”
He added: “Many Labour councillors would rather cover it up than deal with it the way it should be.”
An East of England Labour Party spokesperson said: “Melvin Cato is no longer a member of the Labour Party.”
As part of Cato’s most recent sentence he has been ordered to complete a six month alcohol treatment programme.
The Herald & Post has contacted Luton Borough Council for comment.