Women taking legal action after police drop case against Tower Hamlets ex-mayor Rahman

Anti-corruption activists Angela Moffat and Cathy Holmes

Anti-corruption activists Angela Moffat and Cathy Holmes - Credit: Archant

Two women are planning private summonses against former Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman in the face of a police decision not to go ahead with criminal action for election fraud and malpractice.

Lutfur Rahman at rally in Mile End after being barred from office in April, 2015

Lutfur Rahman at rally in Mile End after being barred from office in April, 2015 - Credit: Archant

Community activists Angela Moffat and Cathy Holmes have “had enough” and are now talking to lawyers to start proceedings, the East London Advertiser has learned.

Some lawyers are offering to do pro bono legal work without fees, it is understood.

Mother-of-four Angela was one of the original election petitioners who took Rahman to the High Court a year ago and won a damning judgement against him that led to his five-year ban from office.

Offences identified in the judgement included fraud, conspiracy to defraud the election returning officer and misfeasance in public office.

Election Petitioner Andy Erlam

Election Petitioner Andy Erlam - Credit: Archant

The £500,000 legal costs of the original six-week election trial was awarded against Rahman, but he hasn’t paid a penny towards it, the election petitioners told the High Court in January when his £3m property assets were frozen.

“There has been a massive cover-up and we’re not having it,” Angela told the Advertiser. “The people deserve better.”

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Her co-campaigner Cathy is a long-standing critic of the corruption that the judge found endemic in the Rahman election camp.

She said defiantly: “I and many others have personally suffered because of corruption—but this is going to change.”

The police earlier this month made the decision not to undertake criminal prosecutions—despite recommendations in the 200-page court judgement report.

There was “insufficient evidence”, Scotland Yard said after talks with the Crown Prosecution Service.

But the two women, from the Isle of Dogs, are now talking to lawyers and appealing for public support.

Cathy has been angry since police broke into her flat in Glengarnock Avenue, Millwall, on December 3, 2014. She had been fined for two black rubbish bags outside her florist shop in Manchester Road and ended up being arrested when she was unable to appear in court.

Election petitioner Andy Erlam, who led the High Court campaign, said: “There was no proportionate reason to break the front door. The search of the flat did not result in any arrests or charges.

“Forced police entry is a stressful experience for a single parent and her son.”

Her shop was destroyed in a suspicious fire in 2007. A suspect was arrested, but no criminal action followed.