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Tower Hamlets election officer cleared in corruption case against Lutfur Rahman

PUBLISHED: 17:19 23 April 2015 | UPDATED: 08:49 24 April 2015

Cleared at the High Court... Tower Hamlets' Election Returning officer John Williams, pictured with former borough Police Commander Dave Stringer

Cleared at the High Court... Tower Hamlets' Election Returning officer John Williams, pictured with former borough Police Commander Dave Stringer

Dave Sinclair

The returning officer caught up in the Tower Hamlets election trial has been cleared today of any wrongdoing.

Andy Erlam (centre) and two of his election co-petitioners Angela Moffat and Azmal Hussein outside the High Court [photo Anthony Devlin/PA Wire]Andy Erlam (centre) and two of his election co-petitioners Angela Moffat and Azmal Hussein outside the High Court [photo Anthony Devlin/PA Wire]

John Williams was originally named in the High Court Election Petition brought by anti-corruption campaigner Andy Erlam.

But no evidence was offered against him during the six week hearing which ended last month, after the petitioners withdrew their writ naming him.

A pronouncement had to be made by the judge as the writ was already listed for hearing, which has now exonerated him – much to the relief of Town Hall colleagues.

The council’s new election process aimed at ironing out loopholes which allowed fraudulent voting registrations and postal ballots has also been given a clean bill of health, the authority says.

High Court QC Richard Mawrey [inset] and verdict on Tower Hamlets election trialHigh Court QC Richard Mawrey [inset] and verdict on Tower Hamlets election trial

“The election commissioner Richard Mawrey today presented a judgement which cleared the council’s returning officer,” a Town Hall spokesman said.

“We welcome recognition that the council’s strong electoral process – which has been subject to further intense scrutiny during this petition hearing—are sound.

“The council will now take steps to hold an election for executive mayor of Tower Hamlets.”

Council staff themselves are cleared of all allegations concerning fraudulent practice in organising the 2014 polls.

Last May’s election, which returned Lutfur Rahman for a second term, has now been declared void, after he was found guilty by Judge Mawrey today of election malpractice following damning evidence brought by Mr Erlam and his three fellow-campaigners.

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