Lutfur Rahman, who was the first directly elected mayor of Tower Hamlets in London applied for judicial review of ruling that bans him from standing for election.
In April 2015, Rahman was removed as mayor and banned from standing for election for five years. He was also ordered to pay £250,000 costs after the election court found he had used corrupt and illegal practices when he was elected for his second term as mayor of Tower Hamlets in 2014.
Mr Rahman asked two senior judges to reconsider his case at a high court hearing in London in May.
Lawyers representing him said the new application was made in the wake of a decision not to prosecute due to “insufficient evidence”.
In two days of hearings held at the Royal Courts of Justice on Wednesday, May 17 and Thursday, May 18, his legal team argued that his right to a fair trial in a criminal court, as protected by article six of the European Convention on Human Rights, had been compromised by the civil court’s judgement.
A barrister representing the Met Police, James Segan, insisted that although Mr Rahman was a person of interest he was never treated as a suspect or faced personal investigation at the time of the electoral court proceedings.
Lord Justice Lloyd Jones and Mr Justice Supperstone dismissed his application in a ruling published on Thursday.
In the ruling, they said that the findings of the electoral court did not amount to a finding of criminal guilt against Mr Rahman and added that any other judgement would have “profound” implications for electoral law.
The judgement said: “Where an election is challenged, for example on the ground that it was voided by corrupt or illegal practices, the protection of democracy and the democratic process requires that the issue should be resolved and the Commissioner should be able to report as a matter of urgency.
“If it were the case that a Commissioner hearing an election petition is prevented from expressing in a civil election proceedings conclusions as to the personal guilt of a candidate […] until such time as his guilty of innocence on corresponding criminal charges were finally determined by a court of criminal jurisdiction, a vital legislative purpose would be frustrated.”
The ruling also said that, as Mr Rahman had never been prosecuted, he could not rely on the defence of article six, and that he should have raised any concerns he had at the beginning of the electoral court proceedings.
Source: The Wharf