05:50, June 22 91 0 theguardian.com

2017-06-22 05:50:02
Banned ex-mayor of Tower Hamlets loses latest appeal bid

A former mayor barred from running for office for five years after being found guilty of corrupt and illegal practices after a specialist court hearing has lost the latest stage of an appeal bid.

Lutfur Rahman, who was the directly elected mayor of Tower Hamlets in London, asked two senior judges to reconsider his case at a high court hearing in London in May.

Lord Justice Lloyd Jones and Mr Justice Supperstone dismissed his application in a ruling published on Thursday.

Lawyers representing Rahman said the new application was made after a decision not to prosecute. They said prosecutors told Rahman he would not face criminal charges because there was insufficient evidence.

Lawyers suggested it would be wrong to allow some of the election commissioner Richard Mawrey’s findings to stand in light of that decision not to bring criminal charges.

Rahman failed in an attempt to challenge rulings Mawrey made two years ago, after an election court trial in London.

Two senior judges blocked a bid to mount an appeal after a high court hearing last year.

A group of four voters, led by the writer and film-maker Andy Erlam, took legal action against Rahman, under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, in 2015.

The voters’ lawyers made a series of allegations, including personation in postal voting and at polling stations, and ballot paper tampering.

Rahman said there was little, if any, evidence of wrongdoing against him.

His lawyers described the group’s claims as invention, exaggeration and “in some cases downright deliberately false allegations”.

But Mawrey made a series of findings against Rahman. He said evidence aired at the election court trial revealed an “alarming state of affairs” in Tower Hamlets. He said his ruling meant the 2014 mayoral election was void.

The election was rerun and won by Labour’s John Biggs.