A COMMUNITY leader says he is determined to clear his name after he was found guilty of attack which he has described as a “family matter”.

George Ioannou was found guilty of assault by beating and handed a hefty fine.

But the independent councillor for Roche North and Rural on Rochford District Council, who was found guilty on Friday, says he has already launched an appeal against the conviction Magistrates ordered him to pay a fine of £343, in £120 in compensation to the victim, £625 in court costs and a £34 victim surcharge.

Mr Ioannou told the Echo: “I can confirm that I attended court on August 8 to answer a summons about a private matter. This remains contested and is a private family matter and is nothing to do with the council or my work as a councillor.”

Fellow councillors are supporting Mr Ioannou following hearing.

Mike Steptoe, former Tory leader of the district, said: “I was aware of this and I know it’s a private matter and was nothing to do with the council. I don’t think it does or will impact his work as a councillor.”

Mike Wilkinson, Independent Group Leader at Rochford District Council, added: “I was present at Colchester Magistrates Court throughout the proceedings with Mr Ioannou and as such I am fully aware of all the facts of this case.

“This is a private, family matter and remains contested at this time as legal advice is being sought regarding an appeal.

“This incident has nothing whatsoever to do with his role as a district councillor and does not impact in any way on his continued ability to be a district councillor representing the residents of Roche North and Rural ward, something which he has done to an exceptionally high standard.