Kevin Woodford election fraud trial: Police officer 'misled'

Kevin Woodford Kevin Woodford has told the trial he was not aware of any fraud

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A police officer has told an election fraud trial she was misled into giving away her vote.

PC Emily McLean was giving evidence at the trial of four people accused of manipulating the Isle of Man's proxy voting system to get celebrity chef Kevin Woodford elected.

Miss McLean said she signed a form at her door after being told it would stop canvassers bothering her.

But the form actually allowed someone to vote on her behalf as a 'proxy'.

Miss McLean said she would not have signed the form if she had known what it really was.

"They said if I signed this form it means people won't come back, which I thought was great so I just signed it," she said.

"I wanted them to stop calling at my door.

"I didn't know I was giving my vote away."

Mr Woodford, who previously told the trial he was not aware of any fraud, unsuccessfully stood in the Douglas East by-election in 2010 to become a Member of the House of Keys.

Two canvassers

Proxy voting is a system whereby electors can appoint a 'proxy' to vote for them if they are likely to be off the Isle of Man on polling day.

Miss McLean said a man and woman came to her door together.

The man fitted the description of Charles "Buster" Lewin, 57, of Crosby, who has already admitted conspiracy to affect legal purposes by improper means, conspiracy to steal and conspiracy to forge a document.

Start Quote

They said if I signed this form it means people won't come back, which I thought was great so I just signed it”

End Quote PC Emily McLean

It is accepted the woman was Gail Corrin, 40, from Douglas, who is on trial accused of conspiracy to affect legal purposes by improper means.

Iain Goldrein QC, defending Ms Corrin, asked Miss McLean: "Were you left with the impression it was the man who did all the talking?"

She replied: "Yes."

Geoffrey Callister, 51, from Port Erin, is on trial accused of the same charge as Ms Corrin.

Kerry Rothwell, 25, and Catherine Liggins, 26, both from Onchan, are on trial accused of the same three charges as Lewin.

The trial at Douglas Court House heard witness statements from other people who had proxy applications completed in their names.

Woman 'puzzled'

The statement from mortgage advisor Dawn Evans said: "I work in a bank and tend to know what and why I am signing something.

"I am puzzled how my details and signature have come to be on this form.

"I certainly had no intention of voting for him [Mr Woodford]."

The trial has heard Mr Woodford's election campaign was run from offices in Derby Square, in Douglas, and office equipment including computers was supplied by local property development company Dandara.

David Nugent, son of Dandara's managing director Seamus Nugent, told the trial he volunteered as a member of the campaign team.

In his witness statement, he described his role as "Kevin's [Mr Woodford's] assistant" and said: "I would run errands with Geoff [the defendant Mr Callister] and put posters up."

Cairns Nelson QC, prosecuting, asked Mr Nugent about two forms which had his signature on, putting him forward as a proxy to vote on behalf of other people.

Mr Nelson asked: "Why did you sign these forms?"

Mr Nugent replied: "I was asked to sign the forms."

Mr Nelson said: "By whom?"

Mr Nugent said: "I don't recall. I don't remember."

The four deny the charges against them and the trial is expected to last several weeks.

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