Wednesday, February 19, 2014

No justice for electoral fraud

Last year, Labour candidate Daljit Singh was convicted of electoral fraud. His sentence? Five months' community detention and 200 hours community service:

A Labour party candidate in Auckland's first Super City elections will serve five months' community detention for his involvement in New Zealand's first electoral fraud.

Daljit Singh's bid to avoid a conviction on two charges of using forged documents he was found guilty of was also scuppered today in the High Court at Auckland, where he was also ordered to do 200 hours' community work.

A jury acquitted the 43-year-old on a further 18 charges over a scheme designed to increase his chances of winning a spot on the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board by enrolling people from outside the area in that ward.

For those who don't know, community detention means being required to stay at home for a few hours a day. Its an appropriate sentence for some offending. But electoral fraud? This is a serious offence which strikes at the heart of our democracy. And the clear message of the courts is that they don't give a shit about it.