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Would-be Kent crime commissioner Fergus Wilson appeals against assault conviction to clear his name ahead of election

The former property mogul Fergus Wilson has appealed against a conviction for assault in a bid to clear his name ahead of the election for Kent’s crime commissioner.

The maverick landlord, who recently sold his stock of buy-to-let properties, has been challenged over his intention to stand because of the conviction.

Election rules for crime commissioner elections say that those who stand as candidates must not have had a criminal conviction, regardless of whether they went to prison.

Landlord Fergus Wilson
Landlord Fergus Wilson

But the issue of whether candidates are eligible is complicated, as no challenge is possible until nominations are formally made.

In April last year the 67-year-old, who lives in Boughton Monchelsea near Maidstone, was found guilty of punching estate agent Daniel Wells, 31, in a row over a tenant’s boiler. Assault by beating carries a maximum sentence of six months in custody.

Mr Wilson said he had formally instructed lawyers to appeal against his conviction to eliminate questions or challenges to his candidacy.

He said that if the appeal - as is likely - is not heard before May 5, his nomination would have to be accepted.

Asked why he had not lodged an appeal at the time of his conviction, he said: "I did not think that it would be an issue at the time."

He was not making any secret of the fact that the appeal was linked to his ambition to stand in the election. He also said he had instructed lawyers to request a Judicial Review of the case.

Millionaire property tycoon Fergus Wilson
Millionaire property tycoon Fergus Wilson

Mr Wilson believes that until his appeal is heard and resolved, there cannot be any challenge.

He was fined £1,500 after a case in which he was found guilty of assault after hitting an estate agent in Folkestone.

In recent weeks, Mr Wilson has set out a variety of policy pledges in newspaper advertisements, including a financial reward scheme for people who spotted and reported illegal immigrants.

The election in May has already attracted seven candidates with at least one other expected when nominations open at the end of March.

Current commissioner Ann Barnes has announced she will not be standing for re-election.

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