Two Norfolk UKIP members cleared of fraud
- Credit: Rob Colman
Two UKIP members have been cleared over any involvement in an alleged electoral fraud.
The men had been standing trial alongside Matthew Smith, the Norfolk county council member for Gorleston St Andrews who had been selected to stand for parliament in the key target seat of Great Yarmouth at the next general election.
The charges relate to county council elections in the Yarmouth area in May 2013, when Smith stood for election and acted as Ukip's electoral agent.
Fellow UKIP members Michael Monk, 60, of Freeman Close, Hopton, and Daniel Thistlethwaite, 19, of Station Road, South, Belton, had both denied one charge of making a false statement in nomination papers.
They were found not guilty by a jury at Norwich Crown Court today after about eight hours of deliberation.
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Smith, of High Street, Gorleston, has denied six counts of making a false statement in nomination papers knowing that they contained false signatures and three of making false nomination papers.
The jury is still considering its verdicts on those charges.
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Under election rules, all candidates standing as councillors must obtain 10 signatures on nomination forms.
The prosecution alleges that seven out of eight forms submitted by UKIP in that election contained forged signatures.
The jury has been sent home for the night, and will continue deliberations on counts relating to Smith tomorrow.