'Head of Ethics at Downing Street' is referred to at a court in County Down in connection with covid case

'Head of Ethics at Downing Street' is referred to at a court in County Down in connection with covid case

A JUDGE has made reference to the "Head of Ethics" at Downing Street after a man who was one of 20 people at a house in the Newtownards on May 23 last year admitted breaching a Coronavirus regulation.

The defendant is Mark Sewell (43), of Glenmount Drive, Newtownabbey.

A defence lawyer told Newtownards Magistrates' Court his client is on Universal Credit and "in light of the current climate" asked for the defendant to be dealt with "in as lenient a way as possible" and receive a £60 fine similar to a co-accused.

District Judge Mark Hamill said: "I may have referred on the last occasion to the Head of Ethics in Downing Street getting a £50 fine. I don't know what the income of the Head of Ethics in Downing Street was but I'm pretty sure she wasn't on Universal Credit."

That is understood to have been a reference to Helen MacNamara who was the director general for propriety and ethics in the Cabinet Office between 2018 and 2020.

She received a £50 fine from the police for attending a 'leaving do' party for a fellow civil servant in the Cabinet Office during lockdown in June, 2020.

Judge Hamill said fines and penalties "had to bear some resemblance to the ability to pay and that has been completely ignored in this coronavirus maelstrom".

Based on Mark Sewell's ability to pay the judge said he was handing down a £60 fine.