Published: 15:00, 22 March 2016 |
Updated: 16:23, 22 March 2016
English Democrats regional leader Steven Uncles has succeeded in delaying his trial alleging election fraud - because he will be running for Kent Police and Crime Commissioner around the same time.
The 50-year-old candidate, of Shears Close, Wilmington, was due to stand trial at Maidstone Crown Court on April 4.
But despite admitting his chances of success in the Police Commissioner election on May 5 were slim, a judge agreed to adjourn the trial date - possibly until early next year.
He denies seven charges of using a false instrument with intent and three of causing or permitting a false statement to be included in a nomination form in April 2013.
Uncles, who heads up the party in the south east, is alleged to have submitted seven false candidate forms in the names Paul Cooper, Teresa Cannon, Dianne Cooper, Anna Cleves, Kenneth Head, Doreen Head and Rachelle Stevens.
The charges relate to local government elections in May 2013.
In agreeing to vacate the trial date, Judge Jeremy Carey said: “Although he acknowledges his chances of success in the forthcoming elections may not be the highest, he must have a right to stand.
"I am not happy about it. I am sure he will say he’s not happy about it, but we are where we are" - Judge Jeremy Carey
“However one might cast a rheumy eye on such a matter, I am struggling to see how I can deprive him of such an opportunity.”
The judge said only he was allowed to try the case.
“The next date I can do a two-week trial - wait for it - is January 30 2017,” he continued.
He added: “He seems to want to stand for election in a seemingly hopeless situation, rather than have his trial.
“Many defendants would say I have got to get this trial on and get on with it, rather than faffing about and saying I want to have an election I can’t win.
“I am not happy about it. I am sure he will say he’s not happy about it, but we are where we are.”
Prosecutor Mark Weekes suggested the case could be released to another court, but Judge Carey said he would ask the presiding High Court judge for the South East if another judge at Maidstone could conduct the trial on an earlier date.
Uncles, who calls himself “The Kentish Man from U.N.C.L.E.S.” on his election website, is representing himself at the trial having indicated he cannot afford a lawyer.
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