Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Conservative - Councillor vote rigging

A BIRMINGHAM man voted using the identities of two other people in order to help his cousin win a council seat, it was alleged.

Conservative candidate Altaf Adalat won by just six votes against his Labour opponent in Coventry following the fraud in May 2006, a Birmingham Crown Court jury was told.

Iftikhar Hussain, 31, of Green Lane, Small Heath, Birmingham, has denied two charges of personation by voting in the names of Abdul Khaliq and Mukhtar Hussain.

Jonathan Dunne prosecuting said: "The Conservative party candidate for Coventry City Council in Foleshill ward was the defendant's first cousin."

On two occasions Hussain went to separate polling stations and presented himself as someone else and marked his vote for the Conservative candidate, Mr Dunne claimed.

The court was told that there were four candidates and that Mr Adalat was elected as a city councillor after receiving 1,847 votes, with his Labour opponent on 1,841.

Mr Dunne said there was no dispute that the deception had taken place and said that both the people whose names were used were not present in the UK at the time.

"The question for this court is whether it is the defendant who has cast these votes."

Mr Dunn said the principal evidence against Hussain was that his fingerprints were found on both ballot papers.

Following an investigation, Hussain was arrested and questioned, and claimed he had attended the count in Coventry to support his family.

Hussain said on two occasions when he was there at the count, voting papers had started to spill out over a table and that he had pushed them back from the edge.

Mr Dunne said their was rigorous security at the count and no independent evidence that Hussain had been there.

He said the jury may think it was a 'bit of a coincidence' that Hussain happened to get his fingerprints on ballot papers of voters who were male, Asian and Conservative and also the subject of the fraud.

Mr Dunne told the jury earlier that local elections in most authorities of England and Wales took place on May 4, 2006.


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