Former academy chief exec denies bullying

Court News.
Court News.

Richard Gilliland, the former chief executive of the Priory Federation of Academies accused of fraud yesterday (Wednesday) told a jury that he found it “incredible” that he had been accused of bullying.

Gilliland, who spent a third day in the witness box at Lincoln Crown Court, admitted to the jury that he was assertive but denied being aggressive or bullying.

He said: “I was certainly assertive. I don’t think I was aggressive.

“This was a world where you were dealing with lots of targets. There was incredible pressure and to me it was about ensuring everyone knew exactly what their role was. I didn’t see it as aggressive.

“Its a demanding profession. My view was the children had one chance. We had to strive to get it right from the start.”

Under cross-examination from Giles Bedloe, representing Gilliland’s co-accused Stephen Davies, the former chief executive was asked about bullying.

He replied: “I just find that concept incredible. In all my years as a head I never once had a grievance declared against me. The concept of bullying is so far from the truth.

“To me there is no evidence of a perception of bullying. Indeed one of the union officers from the NASUWT always referred to the fact that she liked working with me because on any issue I was totally fair.”

Richard Gilliland, 64, who now lives in Spain, has denied six charges of fraud by abuse of position on dates between October 2008 and November 2011. Gilliland also denies a further charge of fraud by abuse of position alleging that he brought about the employment of his son Kia Richardson knowing that Mr Richardson was unsuitable.

The PFA’s former finance director Stephen Davies, 58, of Abingdon Avenue, Lincoln, denies three charges of fraud by abuse of position.

The trial continues.