Labour councillor accused of lying to beat Lib Dem

The jury trying a Labour member of Waltham Forest Borough Council has been told by prosecutors that she spread lies about her Lib Dem opponent in order to win election by just 28 votes in 2006.

It is alleged that she told voters that her opponent – a gay Lib Dem councillor in a long-term relationship with a 39-year-old Malaysian – ‘was living with a 16-year-old Thai boy’ and that he ‘slept around with boys under the age of 15’. Local residents have taken to the stand to testify to such doorstep slurs of paedophilia. The Lib Dem councillor, who had been a Portfolio Holder, was subsequently threatened and spat at in public. He has since moved away from the area.

The Labour councillor denies the charges of making false statements at an election. More reports of the trial in the local press and the Times.

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12 Comments

  • I await the judgement with interest – good to see unprejudiced local residents coming forward.

    Should the judgement go in Mr Smith’s favour three things spring to mind:

    1) Given all these slurs he only lost by 28 votes! He must have been doing something right!

    2) It’s hard enough for parties to attract local govt candidates – whatever happens in this judgement it’ll make it harder

    3) Why didn’t Cllr Grell call the Police or some other authority?

  • In another local press piece not linked above, it is reported that Miranda Grell admitted to have told voters that the LD councillor was gay and that he had a 19 year old Thai boyfriend.
    Even if it may legal to refer to someone’s sexual orientation whilst canvassing, why did she feel the need to report it to some voters? In what context did she say it? Was she just trying and gain advantage with close minded voters?

  • nigelashton 13th Sep '07 - 3:03pm

    According to the BBC website the accused’s colleague is giving evidence against her:

    “Nicholas Russell told Waltham Forest magistrates his running mate, Miranda Grell, had a “disgusting attitude”.

    “He said Ms Grell told voters her rival Barry Smith claimed to be married yet had a 14-year-old Thai boyfriend.”

  • Hywel Morgan 13th Sep '07 - 6:36pm

    Is that the Nicholas Russell who is (now) the 6th Earl Russell (ie Conrads son)

    Certainly was a Labour actvist when he was at Lancaster and I believe since.

  • David Langshaw 13th Sep '07 - 11:14pm

    According to the BBC, yes, it is Conrad Russell’s son. A few other Labour supporters have given evidence for the Prosecution as well.

  • I see two of the charges against Miranda Grell were dropped today.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/6993949.stm

  • Yasmin Zalzala 14th Sep '07 - 12:52am

    I am glad that these allegations are being considered in court.

    It is important that such things are not overlooked and challenged straight away.

    Well done to the residents who came forward to testify.

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