21 March 2006

DUP man appears in court to face election deception charges

Belfast Telegraph

Ex-mayor accused of vote fraud

By Lisa Smyth
21 March 2006

A former DUP mayor of Coleraine who has been accused of electoral fraud.

Councillor Dessie Stewart, a retired part-time firefighter, appeared at North Antrim Magistrates Court yesterday to face six charges relating to the local government and parliamentary elections last year.

Stewart, of Parker Avenue, Portrush, was charged with two counts of pretending to be another person in order to cast a postal vote in the Skerries district of Coleraine Borough Council in last May's local government elections.

He was also charged with two counts of pretending to be another person in order to cast a postal vote in the East Derry constituency in last May's parliamentary elections

He was further charged with two counts that by duress or any fraudulent device or contrivance, he is guilty of undue influence by impeding or preventing the free exercise of the franchise of an elector or proxy for an elector.

The alleged offences were all said to have occurred on a date unknown between April 24, 2005 and May 1, 2005.

Stewart (56), who appeared in court wearing a dark suit and clutching a file, was released on bail of £500. He spoke to confirm that he understood the charges before him and when asked if he had any questions he wanted to ask or witnesses he wanted to call, he replied: "Not at this time."

A representative from the PPS told the court she believed there was a prima facie case to answer. The case was adjourned until April 27.

Stewart, whose real name is Robert Desmond Stewart, is a long-standing member of Coleraine Borough Council, having first been elected to office in 1989.

Comments: Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?