So what’s Miranda Grell, formerly convicted of homophobic smears on her Liberal Democrat opponent, up to these days?

Way back in 2006, Miranda Grell was elected as a Labour Councillor in Waltham Forest, East London. The following year, she was convicted of making false statements about the Liberal Democrat candidate. From the BBC:

Waltham Forest Magistrates’ Court heard in police interviews Grell admitted she had discussed the candidates’s sexuality with one local resident.

She said she told the man the Lib Dem claimed to be married despite having a 19-year-old Thai boyfriend.

Grell put the mistake down to political immaturity and inexperience at campaigning.

But another resident, Caroline Dargan, told the court Grell had a similar conversation with her.

Outside court Ms Dargan told BBC London: “(Grell) just started to talk about the Lib Dem candidate. She made some suggestions about him being gay, and I sort of knew that.

“But then I felt the conversation deteriorated into her saying that he was actually interested in young oriental boys.”

In fact, his long term partner was 39.

She appealed against her conviction and that appeal failed.

We cannot find any online record of Grell showing any sort of remorse for her actions, nor any apology to our candidate who had to move away from the area after being abused in the street.

Despite that, it seems that Grell has maintained her connections with the Labour Party. In 2009, Mark Pack wrote about how she’d been out campaigning in Redbridge:

Since her conviction, Miranda Grell has commented several times on the events and in the comments I’ve read I have never seen her express any regret, remorse or acknowledgment that she did something wrong.

Given that she was convicted of smearing her opponent in comments she made when out talking to the public campaigning for Labour, to welcome her back to go out talking to the public campaigning for Labour shows shockingly bad judgement.

Since her conviction, she has retrained as a barrister and was formally called to the Bar last November. This was greeted with praise from a senior Labour MP:

Former Liberal Democrat European candidate and current English Party representative on the Federal Executive tweeted this morning, on hearing this news:

Many of our readers will no doubt be concerned to see this development. It’s interesting that her profile on Hackney Law Centre’s team page mentions that she was a local councillor, but misses out the circumstances in which she lost that office.

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11 Comments

  • Anonymous LD 25th Feb '15 - 10:53am

    As much as the actions that led to Ms Grell’s conviction sicken me, don’t we believe in rehabilitation? On the other hand, you might rightly point out that proper rehabilitation requires genuine remorse and understanding as to the effect her actions had on another. Perhaps that’s what we should be asking for now.

  • Anonymous LD: For rehabilitation to be effective, you need to know that a) wrongdoing happened and b) that you’re sorry. Grell won’t even admit it happened.

  • The issue isn’t about rehabilitation – there is no reason why she can’t continue work in whatever field she was in. It is however about admission to the Bar which requires someone to be of a high degree of personal integrity – eg:

    “Admission to an Inn is vouchsafed only to a person of ‘good character’ and while a criminal conviction will not of itself be a disqualification, one for dishonesty almost certainly will, and in any case will be closely investigated. ”

    Middle Temple, Guide to Professional Conduct.

  • “She appealed her conviction and that appeal failed.”

    I believe the phrase is to “appeal against” in British English.

    Sorry to be pernickety, but I hate creeping Americanisms.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 25th Feb '15 - 12:36pm

    Ok, RC, I’ll take that one on the chin and amend it. You are right.

  • Chris Rennard 26th Feb '15 - 12:32am

    I raised what happened here in a recent debate in the House of Lords on electoral malpractice.
    The short debate is here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201415/ldhansrd/text/141201-0002.htm#14120138000248.
    My speech is here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201415/ldhansrd/text/141201-0002.htm#14120138000251
    Although I mentioned two incidents where I think that some Lib Dems were at fault, Labour were clearly unhappy that I also referred to incidents of discriminatory behaviour by the Labour Party in this case and also in Oldham East and Saddleworth at the last General Election.
    I described how In Waltham Forest, smears were put around by word of mouth and as a result of them, our Councillor was harassed, his property was attacked and he lost the election to the candidate spreading the vile rumours. After the election, some of the truth came out as local residents, aware of the real facts, revealed what they had been told and identified the source of it. The new Labour Councillor was prosecuted, convicted and forced to stand down. We won the by-election that followed, but by then our shattered ex-councillor had been forced to leave the area.
    I also told the House how after the last General Election, my friend Elwyn Watkins took legal action against Phil Woolas. The election court agreed that false statements had been made by Mr Woolas, who was thereby disqualified from Parliament, hence the by-election. The court case revealed that the intention of the then Labour agent, now I am told a member of UKIP, had been to ‘make the white folk angry’. The court was able to obtain, and to see the chain of e-mails within the Labour campaign that revealed a blatant attempt to appeal to racism. The legal costs to Phil Woolas and the Labour Party are said to be over a million pounds.
    I have genuine fears about what may be a very nasty election campaign ahead.
    Further details about the report of the All Party Inquiry into Electoral Malpractice and the work of the Parliamentary Committee Against Anti-Semitism Foundation (PCAAF) can be found here: http://www.antisemitism.org.uk/press/press-releases/2013-2

  • RC, no rest assured that “to appeal a conviction” is pefectly conventional usage in England & Wales.

    “Against” is an unnecessary word in this context.. By definition there is no appeal of a conviction that is not against it.

  • Response from Inner Temple:

    “Ms Grell made a full disclosure of her conviction on application to become a student member of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple. She was referred to the Inns’ Conduct Committee, the part of the Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service which makes decisions on whether applicants declaring convictions or other relevant matters can be admitted to an Inn, by the Inner Temple. The Inns’ Conduct Committee passed Ms Grell as fit and proper to become a practising barrister at a hearing on 12 August 2012. She was subsequently admitted as a student member of the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple and the matter is now closed.”

    There are perhaps questions to be answered about just what information and facts the Bar Tribunals and Adjudication Service addressed themselves to when conducting their hearing into the matter and whether there scrutiny was adequate. I’ll be asking them for further clarification.

    From my personal point of view I would not consider that any chambers who offered her pupillage or tenancy had a serious commitment to upholding the ethical standards that are essential to the conduct of the Bar as a profession.

  • SIMON BANKS 3rd Mar '15 - 10:29pm

    Lester Holloway’s point has already been addressed. Rehabilitation involves remorse and a realisation of the nature of your wrongdoing. If there was reason to believe Miranda Grell had gone down that path, he would be right. But there is none.

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