Joe Murray, the president of Leeds Beckett University Union for 2016/17, has been convicted of assault following a lengthy investigation.
Murray had been charged with two counts of assault by beating and a third of coercive behaviour and was due to stand trial at Leeds Magistrates’ Court on September 1.
Shortly before the trial, Murray changed his plea on the assault charges and the prosecution decided to withhold evidence on the third count, which was dismissed.
Following Murray’s guilty plea, he was sentenced to a 16-week prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to complete a 33-day Building Better Relationships programme and 100 hours of unpaid work. He was also issued with a five year restraining order and told to pay £400 court costs and a £115 victim surcharge.
Murray’s tenure as president had been clouded in mystery, having been absent from his post since November 17 last year. There had been much speculation as to the reasons behind Murray’s suspension, with Beckett students signing an open letter calling for transparency from the university.
By the time of the hearing, his year in office had ended, meaning he never returned to the role and no action was taken by the union.
Leeds Beckett Students’ Union said in a statement:
“Both the students’ union and university have measures in place to deal with any such situations and ensure that those involved are dealt with appropriately and that our student community is safeguarded.
“As soon as the union was informed by the police of the allegations, the former president was suspended. This action was supported by the university.
“He remained suspended till the end of his term as president on June 30, as the outcome of the case was still not known at this time.”