St Albans councillor's relief after assault charges dropped

Local cllr Salih Gaygusuz stands outside the St Albans recycling centre where he was arrested when trying to dump garden waste there

Local cllr Salih Gaygusuz stands outside the St Albans recycling centre where he was arrested when trying to dump garden waste there

Archant

A councillor has had a charge against him of assault by beating dismissed in St Albans Magistrates Court.

Salih Gaygusuz, a district councillor for Marshalswick South, said he “felt like he was going into an electric chair” before he had the charge against him dismissed.

Robert Leverett, supervisor at the Ronsons Way recycling centre in St Albans, accused Cllr Gaygusuz of allegedly ‘barging past’ him when he asked him to stop dumping his waste on September 16.

He claimed Cllr Gaygusuz brought an excess amount of rubble into the waste centre and he asked him to return home to get rid of half in order to meet the centre’s guidelines on rubble and dirt.

The councillor refused, believing he was in his right to stay and Mr Leverett claimed that was when the alleged altercation took place.

A colleague of Mr Leverett called the police and Cllr Gaygusuz claimed that Mr Leverett made an offensive gesture at the car window before he drove home.

He was later arrested and detained in police custody for four hours before being charged with assault by beating.

Cllr Gaygusuz denied the assault allegations and argued that his waste was in fact ‘grass cuttings’, of which he can recycle a limitless amount.

After hearing evidence from various witnesses, magistrate Leigh Smith subsequently dismissed the charges against the councillor.

Upon hearing the verdict, Cllr Gaygusuz said: “I was nervous; I felt as though I was going into an electric chair, but when the verdict came out, I couldn’t recover from that moment, I was still in shock.

“I am annoyed and upset that I have spent four hours in police custody and gone through hell for the past three months facing court charges.”

Cllr Gaygusuz, who hopes to one day become Mayor, added: “If I was to be found guilty that would have been the end of my political career for the city that I am willing to give so much back to.

“I’m lucky that it will go back to normal, and I am hoping to be Mayor of the city one day but that would have prevented me.

“I am challenging county elections but that conviction would have prevented me from carrying out my normal life.

“I could have been found guilty there, and that would have been the end of my life as far as I am concerned but the judge saw 
the truth.”

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