Brian Greenslade 'was protected by position of power', jury told

Councillor Brian Greenslade

Councillor Brian Greenslade - Credit: Archant

A former leader of Devon County Council who is accused of sexually assaulting three women may have been emboldened by his position of power, a jury has been told. 

Brian Greenslade is on trial at Exeter Crown Court where he denied touching three women in separate incidents in the 1990s and 2000s. 

Prosecution counsel Miss Jo Martin, QC, has told the jury in her closing speech that the three women had no reason to lie about what happened to them. 

She dismissed a suggestion my Mr Greenslade that there was a politically motivated conspiracy against him as being ridiculous and like something out of the TV drama House of Cards. 

Mr Greenslade, aged 72, of Longpiece, Marwood, near Barnstaple, denies two counts of indecently assault and one of sexual assault. 


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The prosecution allege Mr Greenslade sexually assaulted one woman by putting his hand down her trousers during a council planning site visit, and touched the breasts of others at an office in Barnstaple and a reception at County Hall. 

Mr Greenslade, who is also a former chairman of the Devon and Cornwall police authority, told the court that none of the incidents happened and he has never behaved inappropriately towards any of the women. 

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Miss Martin said the jury could be sure that the three complainants were telling the truth and that Mr Greenslade is lying. 

She said Mr Greenslade’s ego meant he was furious about the allegations and the lack of respect he felt had been shown by the police when they arrested him. 

She said: “He described one of the allegations as absolutely nonsense. We say it is his conspiracy theory that is absolute nonsense. As far as he is concerned, everyone is out to get him for some political reason. His theory is straight out of House of Cards.  

“He may have been emboldened by the very fact that he got away with it in the past in relations to the first two complainants. 

“He is a man completely wrapped up in his own ego and sense of self-importance. He could easily have shrugged it off if the women had complained at the time. He felt his position protected him.” 

Miss Carolina Guiloff, defending, said Mr Greenslade’s diary showed that he could not have attended the site meeting where the first woman alleged, she was assaulted. 

He said all the incidents may have arisen from accidental contact or misunderstandings rather than deliberate actions on his part. 

She said the touching may have been inadvertent and Mr Greenslade may not have appreciated or even remember what had happened. 

He had no opportunity to deny the allegations at the time because the three women only went to the police in 2018. 

She said “There is a potential for injustice because he would not have any knowledge or memory of inadvertent contact.” 

Judge Timothy Rose told the jury to put all emotion out of their minds. He told them they should remember that Mr Greenslade is a man of good character when they assess the credibility of his evidence. 

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