Pensioner accused of registering a mannequin as a candidate in a city council election is to face trial


Pensioner accused of registering a mannequin as a candidate in a city council election is to face trial
Renee Slater, 64, denies breach of the Representation of the People ActPensioner, of Aberdeen, is accused of submitting false details for the dummy called Helena Torry to a returning officer

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UPDATED:

21:57 GMT, 8 December 2012

A pensioner accused of registering a mannequin as a candidate in a city council election is to face trial.

Renee Slater is alleged to have put
the dummy – named Helena Torry – forward to stand in Aberdeen City
Council's local government elections on March 29.

The 64-year-old denied the charge,
made under the Representation of the People Act, when she appeared at
the city's sheriff court on Friday.

Charged and facing trial: Renee Slater, left, pictured next to mannequin Helena Torry, denies breaching the Representation of the People Act

Charged and facing trial: Renee Slater, left, pictured next to mannequin Helena Torry, denies breaching the Representation of the People Act

The charge alleges that she submitted a
nomination paper containing the dummy's details, which she knew to be
false, to a returning officer at the council's Town House.

Miss Slater, of Aberdeen, is to face trial next month.

Police confiscated the dummy – which was detained indefinitely – after swooping on Slater for the alleged electoral fraud.

Council chiefs’ suspicions were
alerted after a ‘Helena Torry’ was registered as an
independent candidate in the Aberdeen City Council poll on May 3.

She
was put forward to represent the city’s Hazlehead/Ashley/Queen’s Cross
ward, apparently to fight for ‘equality for human beings, ensuring there
is a fair deal for everyone and giving a voice to the silent majority’.

Facing trial: Renee Slater, left, is accused of committing electoral fraud by registering a shop-window dummy, named as Helena Torry, right, as a local election candidate

Facing trial: Renee Slater, left, is accused of committing electoral fraud by registering a shop-window dummy, named as Helena Torry, right, as a local election candidate

Facing trial: Renee Slater, left, is accused of committing electoral fraud by registering a shop-window dummy, named as Helena Torry, right, as a local election candidate

Candidate: 'Helena Torry', pictured, was registered as an independent candidate in the Aberdeen City Council poll on May 3

Candidate: 'Helena Torry', pictured, was registered as an independent candidate in the Aberdeen City Council poll on May 3

But ‘Miss Torry’
turned out to be a 5ft mannequin, standing in the ward whose residents
include businessman Sir Ian Wood, backer of the controversial project to
revamp the centre of Aberdeen.

But
on shop-owner Miss Slater was taken into custody and
questioned for six hours by Grampian Police, after having identification
pictures, fingerprints and DNA samples taken.

She is now banned from any polling stations other than in her own ward.

On
April 2, Aberdeen City Council published a revised Notice of Poll for
the ward, ahead of the election which is due to take place on May 3.

Returning
Officer Valerie Watts said at the time: 'It has been brought to my attention that
Helena Torry, for whom a nomination paper was submitted for the
Hazlehead, Ashley and Queens Cross ward, does not exist.

'Miss Torry' turned out to be a 5ft mannequin, standing for election in Scotland. The mannequin - which it understood to have been seized by police - originally appeared on the list of potential councillors for the Hazlehead, Ashley and Queens Cross ward

'Miss Torry' turned out to be a 5ft mannequin, standing for election in Scotland. The mannequin – which it understood to have been seized by police – originally appeared on the list of potential councillors for the Hazlehead, Ashley and Queens Cross ward

'I am, therefore, republishing the Notice of Poll for that ward, deleting the reference to the fake candidate.

'This is a very serious and
unusual step to take but is necessary to ensure that the interests of
the genuine candidates and voters are protected, and that the election
can take place on May 3.

'The
nomination paper for Helena Torry was submitted shortly before the
close of nominations on March 3 and contained all the information
required by statute for a valid nomination.'

In
this case, it is clear from public statements from the purported
election agent that the information on the form was inaccurate to the
point of rendering the nomination a complete nullity, which can be
disregarded for the purposes of the election.'

She added that 'those concerned' would be billed for all costs involved in dealing with the matter.

Ms Slater told STV News: 'This is not a police issue. This is an Aberdeen City Council issue.

'I think the police have much more important things to deal with than me.'