Miranda Grell loses her appeal

Waltham Forest Labour councillor Miranda Grell lost her appeal today over her conviction for falsely smearing her Liberal Democrat opponent in the 2006 elections. The smears involved painting her opponent as a child abuser.

It’s worth remembering the awful personal tragedy behind this case – the terrible effect on Barry Smith, the Liberal Democrat councillor who was defeated by Miranda Grell:

In the months after his defeat he was abused, threatened and spat at in the street and on one occasion two men followed him home from a shop and accused him of having sex with children.

Hat tip: Anthony Hook

Given the vehemence with which some (though to be fair, by no means all) Labour supporters have defended Grell, even after her initial conviction (and including fabricating a tale about a court transcript that didn’t exist), I’m not 100% sure that even losing her appeal will be enough to get the message through to them about the disgraceful havoc wrecked on Barry Smith’s life by Miranda Grell’s behaviour. But let’s hope it does.

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  • I hope that anyone who doubted the truth of the case will now accept that it’s true and apologise.

  • Yes, I agree. Her supporters include Diane Abbott, Dawn Butler, and Jennette Arnold (London Assembly Member)-showing very poor judgement. Its incredible that after the damage she did to Barry Smith, she based her appeal on an apparent plot to ‘discredit her’
    She will now vacate her seat and there will be a by election.

  • Whoever is organising the by election, kindly note my personal commitment to come and help in any way that’s needed. The best way to teach Labour the final lesson in this appalling story is to beat the xxxx out of them in the by election.

  • Having gone so far down the path of defending a proven liar and homophobe, I very much doubt that any of the people who backed her will apologise or retract in any way at all. They will probably just smear more with the calls of “racism” and “sore losers” and all the rest of the bollox.

    E.g. I think Chris Paul has pretty much destroyed the credibility he had as a “hard but fair” (look, some people thought that…not me, but some did!) commentator over this Grell scandal.

  • I repeat, the lady is a lying, homophobic bigot. And I’m pleased to see the Court of Appeal agrees.

  • Peter Dunphy 1st Dec '07 - 12:12am

    This promises to be a very hard fought By-Election. As a former colleague of Barry’s on Waltham Forest Council I for one will be doing everything I can to get Labour out of Leyton ward. I hope this provides some small consolation to Barry, who is one of the most decent human beings ( as well as a brilliant Councillor and Cabinet member) I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.

  • passing tory 1st Dec '07 - 12:35am

    Using the words “Chris Paul” and “integrity” in the same sentence is pointless.

    Doh. Did it again …

  • I met Barry Smith through the Council and I know the pain both he and his partner have sufferred. Knowing the wonderful person Barry is, how much he has contributed for so many and how the people of Waltham Forest have been denied an excellent councillor I am still greatly sadended. Throughout Barry has shown great dignity and when speaking with him he has still shown human compassion for those who have destroyed both his career and life.

    Even after loosing his seat, I attended many meetings where he continued (for free) to give up his own time to assist the council. He was a genuine councillor who always put people first.

    As a black female I felt an even deeper “shame” in addition to the fact that he was persecuted by the Ex- Community chair of Waltham Forest. What message does this give to a community battling to be cohesive, and to accept underepresented groups?

    I know Barry will not be celebrating, about the loss of Ms Grell’s appeal, probably the contrary, that is just not his style. I imagine he will simply be trying to get closure and put his life back together.

    I suggest the mud throwing needs to stop now and the group should in honour of Barry be as dignified as he was and try to assist in moving forward positively.

    Clearly there have been no winners in this tragedy.

  • Noorderling 1st Dec '07 - 10:20am

    Found the comments Chris Paul appparantly was afraid to make here:
    “Is that ironic Frances Smith? In Manchester City Centre ward last campaign we had homophobic country Tories apparently bussed in from Cheshire and Merseyside.

    They did not claim that anyone was a paedophile but to the acute embarrassment of a local Tory supporter who was working with them they ripped into a picture of our candidate on a Gay Pride parade and suggested that this should not take place: “What about the rest of us” they said.

    The Tory candidate later insisted these rugger boys were in fact all gay themselves.

    Whatever may have gone on this verdict doesn’t look very sound from press coverage. But at least the EL Guardian has made it clear what the judge said. i.e. that the judge decided to believe Kevin Sorkin and ex-partner Naomi Robinson. ”


  • Gareth Epps 1st Dec '07 - 10:39am

    I too pledge to go to Leyton and lend a hand.

    Labour politics all too often end in the gutter and cases like this must be highlighted to let the public know about some of the nastier pieces of work that inhabit the Labour Party. Champions of equality? Yeah, right – when it suits them.

    Where is Chris Paul again?

  • 12: Probably spending a lot of time working on his climb-down! 😉

  • No, you ludicrous apologist for Labour homophobia, ‘smearing’ is what the convicted homophobe Grell did.

  • This appeal decision is a very important matter. The decision has certainly demonstrated that racism, homophobia or any discriminatory behaviour is not acceptable in British politics.

    I hope that the Greater London Assembly retracts any supportive statement for this Labour councillor and issues a condemnatory statement. Clearly, if this was a racial issue, the Mayor would have immediately removed the employee. However, as this is someone from the LGBT community, there is clearly a lack of respect for this minority community in sections of the Labour party.

    The Labour association, of which Cllr Miranda Grell is a member, should issue a statement condemning her behaviour and subsequently terminate her membership. If they do not, it will only illustrate to people that Labour refuses to commit to promoting community cohesions and positive images of LGBT communities in London.

    Furthermore, I truly hope all Labour GLA members and Members of Parliament (MPs) begin to distance themselves away from this member.

    Her behaviour was completely deplorable and that I am surprised that someone from a minority community would subject another member of a minority community to this form of discrimination.

  • Justin Hinchcliffe Says:
    November 30th, 2007 at 11:35 pm
    Where’s “Joanne” when you need her?

    I would ask the same question mate, I certainly would. Suddenly, she is no longer saying “go and read the transcript”, well, I would tell her [Joanna], go and read the appeal transcript. Maybe you will notice that your colleague is actually a convicted individual. Today the people of Waltham Forest will celebrate this verdict, and will celebrate the fact that another bigoted individual has been removed from public office.

  • Bridget Fox 1st Dec '07 - 4:48pm

    This isn’t about Chris Paul. This is about a Labour party where the culture appears to be that anything that wins you votes – from dodgy donors to homophobic lies – is acceptable; and the only crime is to be caught.

    What would be refreshing is to have a Labour person come here and say, “I hope it’s not true. I don’t believe it’s true. But if it is true it is unacceptable. And I won’t hesitate to say so.”

  • Bridget Fox 1st Dec '07 - 4:53pm

    Miranda Grell’s own site has been updated to say she has resigned fro the Labour party, but still describes her as ‘Cllr Miranda Grell’ and says ‘I know I am innocent’ and ‘Our fight continues’.

  • I believe her resignation from the Labour Party, Compass and her employment role is sufficient. If she were to retain her involvement, her party’s commitment on LGBT issues and human rights would be questioned. However, former Cllr Grell has resigned and that should be the end of that matter.

    What concerns me is that she continues to claim she is “innocent”, without producing any evidence. On two different occasions, Cllr Grell’s conviction was upheld. What else would she like? Would you like the United Nations Security Council to hear her appeal or something LOL? She appealed and she lost. Simple fact.

    perhaps she could explain why she would resign from her involvement in three different places, if she still believed she was so innocent. Clearly her own party and employers accept the court’s decision, why can’t she accept it and accept the simple fact that she was wrong.

    “Although I know I am innocent, what I have been convicted of amounts to bringing the Labour party into disrepute and gross misconduct of the Greater London Authority constitution.”

    That is what most people convicted of all kinds of criminal or civil cases. They all claim they are innocent, if that was true, then this whole world would be a better place.

    “I cannot expect either of these organisations to continue to formally support me in these circumstances.”

    Why is that? Surely, you are innocent, so why would they not continue to support you? Makes logical sense.

    “Many thanks to all of you who have today sent through messages of support.”

    How many people? 2 ok ok…. i’ll give you the benefit of the doubt…..3 people messaged you to support you, including Joanna.

    “Our fight continues.”

    Well, you can fight on your own. And this time without the support of Labour, GLA or Compass or anyone else.

  • Richard Church 1st Dec '07 - 7:24pm

    If she is as innocent as she claims, why has she resigned from the Labour party?

  • Geoffrey Payne 2nd Dec '07 - 9:50am

    I think this is a tragic case. Miranda Grell was potentially a rising star from the black community – something we need in politics. But she is also a nasty homophobe and her views are simply unacceptable for any serious British political party.
    In politics it is understandable that you are loyal to your friends. But it reflects very badly that you maintain that loyalty even when in this case even Miranda herself admits in court to starting a homophobic rumour about her political opponent. I find it appalling that in the face of that evidence, her friends still remained loyal to her, and that those friends include Jeanette Arnold and Diane Abbott MP, who you would have thought would have considered homophobia to be totally unacceptable, but they preferred to turn a blind eye.
    Also organisations like Operation Black Vote, who have a valuble role in British politics, report her case in a biased way, again who appear untroubled by the homophobia that Miranda admitted to.
    It is no surprise that Miranda lost her appeal. It was an absurd premise that the Lib Dem candidate would concote a smear against Labour that would identify HIM as a peadophile, and the inevitable hostility that would be created against him.
    And how on earth could it be possible that the Lib Dems could get Miranda’s Labour running mate to testify against her?
    It was very brave of him to testify against her, and I wonder what the attitude of Labour party members are towards him now that he has done so? Those who supported Miranda must believe he is a lier.
    It would have been better if this whole wretched affair had never have happened, but questions now need to be asked of the Labour Left about their attitudes towards racism and homophobia, and how they decide what to believe.

  • Geoffrey, to provide strength to your argument regarding Miranda Grell. I would argue quite simply that there is no place in British politics for people who incite or advocate any form of discrimination.

    As a minority herself, she should appreciate that her victim was minority too. She should further appreciate that both minorities endure discrimination and thus should be working together, not against each other. A rising star is not meant to work against the people they represent, but quite the opposite. If she wants to know what life is like for LGBT young people and adults, I would be happy to take her to an LGBT charity where i am a trustee and she could listen for herself.

    As a democratically elected politician, she should have set out a positive example of what a good citizen is, however, she willingly chose to abuse her public office by launching a smear campaign.

    Furthermore, it is not socially acceptable to incite hatred against gays, lesbians, bisexuals or transsexuals. They, as any other community, have equal civil and human rights with anybody else. Indeed, incitement to hatred for whatever reason should be totally unacceptable in a civilised society.

    As a British Muslim myself and not LGBT, I want to and will stand up for what I believe is right, to speak up for all minorities and the rest of society. That is what a rising politician is all about. A rising politician wants to see change and eradicate all forms of discrimination. It may not happen overnight, but we must begin the process of eradication.

    I agree with virtually all your post, but as a minority myself, feel extremely ashamed by her actions. She is not representative of the BME, LGBT or minority faith communities in Britain, who in fact, are extremely tolerant and want to contribute to an inclusive society.



  • The last Radical 2nd Dec '07 - 5:15pm

    Miranda’s website has this comment from me on it, it is ‘awaiting moderation’ so may not be there for long!

    Don’t you feel any remorse for what you’ve done to Barry?
    The poor man was hounded out of his home by appalling homophobic allegations. You’ve maintained your ‘innocence’, but two courts have begged to differ. You’ve also presented this as an attack on Leyton, which is complete nonsense.
    I see you’ve resigned from ‘compass’, well its time you looked at your own moral compass, and issueed a full, if belated apology for your actions.

  • 11 – Alright then.

    Oh Captain, my captain! I’ll bring the sandwiches.

  • Ian Roebuck 3rd Dec '07 - 1:44pm

    Chris Paull “I am sceptical about the summary justice of magistrates courts – a view shared by many many lawyers and “service users” ”

    what is it you are sceptical about, Chris ? The extension of single “stipe” decision making, the principle of which most magistrates and many DJs also abhor but was rammed through by New Labour.

    Or do you believe that the decisions are suspect or perverse, in which case from my experience you would have few lawyers or service users agreeing with you. The proportion of successful appeals against conviction in the Crown Court is significantly higher than in summary courts.

    “I also believe that new laws need good transcripted trials. And I still feel that while the paedophile accusation charge against Grell is so very extreme and hopefully untypical of cases that might be brought that we still don’t have an idea where the boundary of this law is.”

    I’m afraid this reads to me that you want clear guidance on how to get round the intention of the law – just what you can get away with in smearing the personal life of a rival candidate before getting your collar felt, when the aim of the law is to stop all such smears.

    Oh, and I’ve read your post where you complain about the unavailability of legal aid – ask yourself who changed the rules to restrict it, and why.

  • Anon-i-mouse 1st Sep '08 - 3:19pm

    I won’t sink to your level, I know that Karma will get you in the end. IF you believe you have done nothing wrong, then keep fighting. If there is any doubt, then accept the decision of the court and allow all concerned to move on.

  • efua scotland 4th Sep '08 - 2:12pm

    Hi Anon-i-mouse, let Miranda maintain her innocence. The law of cause and effect exists whether we know that it exists or not.

    Okay Miranda you are innocent (in your head). But the fact still remains a jury and an experienced judge found you GUILTY as charged on two separate occasions. We live in a civilised country not a banana republic: the evidence must be damming for you, Miranda to be the first person in England and Wales to be charged under the Representation of the People Act.

    Miranda a word from the wise: think about what you have done to me, Barry Smith and Anon-i-mouse. You did to me what you did to her and we have not even met. I wish we could to exchange notes.

    Miranda keep fighting for your “innocence” and “justice”, live the illusion, it will bite you on the behind in the end.

    Also if you are reading this Miranda, the game of life is one of boomerang every thought action and deed comes right back to you.

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