A WOMAN has appeared in court after a South Wales Police investigation into allegations that she forged nomination papers for a local election candidate.
Amanda Wycherley, aged 41, from Neath, was investigated by the force’s Economic Crime Unit following a by-election in May 2019.
Jonathan Liam Jones was due to stand as a candidate in an election for the Resolven ward of Neath Port Talbot Council.
As part of his nomination process, he needed to secure 10 names and signatories from the electorate, comprising of the name and signature of a proposer, seconder and the names and signatures of eight people assenting to the nomination of the candidate.
These 10 names and signatures were required to be entered on an official nomination paper along with the polling district and elector number of each of the 10 signatories.
The police investigation found that Wycherley added the signatures of eight local residents without their knowledge or consent.
The issue came to light when one local resident saw their name on the nomination form which had been posted on Facebook. Another local resident spotted their name on the form while on a cruise holiday. Neither Mr Jones or his agent were aware of what Wycherley had done.
Wycherley pleaded guilty to offences under Section 65 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 and was sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to undertake rehabilitation and 180 hours unpaid community work as well as to pay £2,366.40 in costs. Due to the conviction she will also be subject to exclusions under the Representation of the People Act 1983.
Detective Inspector Nick Bellamy of the South Wales Police Economic Crime Unit said:
“Offences such as these undermine the foundations of our democratic process and there is strong public interest in pursuing these matters to court to ensure that election processes are adhered to.
“In this particular case, Wycherley has not only used the details of local residents without their consent, the people were completely unaware that their names and signatures had been used to nominate the candidate. The prosecution sends out a clear message that these offences will be fully investigated and brought before the courts.”