Mike Hancock wins court case over paedophile allegation

The BBC reports:

A rival who falsely claimed a Liberal Democrat MP was a paedophile has been convicted of attempting to affect a result in the general election.

Les Cummings, 66, made the false statement about Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock.

Mr Hancock had strenuously denied the allegations made in an election leaflet pamphlet.

Cummings, who stood for the Justice and Anti-Corruption Party, was fined £500 at Southampton Magistrates’ Court.

He had falsely written on the flyer: “Mike Hancock is a paedophile.”

It then showed a picture of Mr Hancock with children and the words: “Would you let him get this close to your children?”

This is the second (and almost certainly final) successful court action under the Representation of the People Act over false allegations in election leaflets distributed for the 2010 general election. The other case was that of Labour MP Phil Woolas, who lost his seat after making false comments about his Liberal Democrat opponent. The most notable previous case was that of Labour councillor Miranda Grell, who lost her council seat after making false allegations about one of her Liberal Democrat opponents being a paedophile.

These three successful cases in just under four years is an unusually high number for a legal provision that has previously gone many years without being used successfully.

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