Friday, October 19, 2007

Labour men deny trying to rig election

Two Labour candidates - one a former Peterborough mayor - and a party official tried to rig a council election, a court was told today.
Mohammed Choudhary, Maqbool Hussein and Tariq Mahmood hatched a scheme to forge votes on postal ballots for the City Council election in Peterborough, in June 2004, King's Lynn Crown Court was told.

All three deny conspiring to defraud and forgery.

Choudhary, 49, of Cobden Street, Peterborough, city mayor from 1996 to 1997, and Hussein, 51, of Ledbury Road, Netherton, Peterborough, were Labour candidates in the election.

Mahmood, 40, of Clarence Road, Peterborough, was the secretary of the local Labour party, jurors were told.

Prosecutor Anthony Leonard QC told the court: "In the weeks leading up to the local government election for Peterborough City Council in June
2004 the defendants abused the system to manipulate it to their advantage.

"They were able to get hold of postal and proxy votes which belonged to voters in the Central Ward."

He said ballot forms were filled in to ensure support for Labour candidates after the three men arranged for paperwork to be sent to addresses they were connected to instead of to the intended voters.

Neither Choudhary nor Hussein won seats in the election.

UPDATE 14/2/2008

Former Mayor found guilty of vote rigging.

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