Four Bradford Conservative supporters go on trial for postal vote fraud

The Bradford Telegraph & Argus reports:

Four Conservative party supporters from Bradford tried to rig the voting system in the run-up to a General Election in a plot to “harvest” postal votes, a court heard today.

Mohammed Sultan, Mohammed Rafiq, Reis Khan and Jamshed Khan sent off for postal voting applications under false names or had legitimate applications re-directed to them, Leeds Crown Court heard.

Their aim was to get “their man” Haroon Rashid, 39, elected to the Bradford West seat in the 2005 General Election, said prosecutor Mark Ainsworth.

Earlier this year, Haroon Rashid was cleared of conspiracy to defraud whilst the then trial of the other four was ordered to be restarted as they were unhappy with their legal representation.

Although it is likely that the trial will now be concluded before the next general election, that is only because we are in a five-year Parliament. Moreover, the original police arrests were made in May 2005.

Whatever the result of the case, that is an uncomfortably slow legal process – both because of the risk of charges hanging over innocent people for years but also because of the risk of having a further general election before allegations arising from the previous one have been resolved.

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