Four people sentenced in Derby fraud case

Jail sentences have been handed out in the Derby electoral fraud case, as the BBC reports:

Four women who were part of a vote rigging operation at a Derby election have been sentenced.

Polling clerk Nasreen Akhtar, 46, from Derby, admitted malpractice, while her nieces Tameena Ali, 27, and Samra Ali, 28, both of St Chad’s Road, admitted personation in the May 2012 election.

At Derby Crown Court, Akhtar was jailed for 14 months. Her nieces were given eight months suspended for 18 months.

The fraud aimed to give more votes to a Labour council candidate.

Noshiela Maqsood, 23, of Holcombe Street, pleaded guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice and was also handed an eight month jail term, suspended for 18 months.

The local Liberal Democrats have called for the person who won the election to face a by-election following these convications:

Head of Campaigns for Liberal Democrats in the East Midlands, Cllr Stuart Bray, said:

“I welcome the convictions of these people who deliberately set out to interfere with the democratic process of the election and illegally bias the election in favour of the Labour candidate.

“This ward was hotly contested and the Labour candidate won with a majority of just 14 votes. We now know that this election was not fair and open and, in the words of the Crown Prosecution Service, these people fraudulently set out to “boost the number of votes for the Labour candidate.

“The only honourable course of action left for the Labour Councillor elected at the time is for him to acknowledge that he did not win fairly and immediately resign his seat so a fresh election can be held, and the true verdict of the people of Arboretum Ward can be made known.

“I drew this incident to attention of the Chief Executive of Derby City Council back in May 2012. We now wish to see a root and branch investigation as to how Derby City Council choose their polling station and counting staff. Members and activists of Labour, or any other party, should not be allowed to oversee the running of the election, and systems must be put in place immediately to restore confidence in the democratic process.

“Finally, we would like to praise the diligence of the Police for carrying out a thorough investigation despite obstacles put in their way, and to the CPS for bringing these prosecutions.

“The Judge has repeatedly said today that these people were not the instigators of this fraud. We now hope that a further investigation is carried out to find those who masterminded this deception.”

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