Former police and crime commissioner candidate Steve Uncles is jailed
PUBLISHED: 14:35 13 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:55 13 March 2017
The Dartford resident stood in last year's election
A Dartford man who forged election nomination papers four years ago has been handed a seven-month prison sentence.
English Democrat Steve Uncles was found guilty of seven counts of forgery and two counts of falsifying a statement relating to candidates on election nomination.
Prior to the local elections in April 2013, the Shears Close, Dartford resident, submitted English Democrat nomination papers to a number of local councils.
But inspections revealed that some nominated candidates did not exist and Uncles had also made up the addresses where he claimed they lived.
The 52-year-old even used the identities of two elderly people without their explicit knowledge.
In May 2013, Uncles, who was brought up in Bexley, admitted forging a signature as well as completing and handing in a number of forms.
He defended his actions by saying that he believed the candidates did exist even though he had not met them personally.
Following an investigation, Uncles was charged with the offences in February 2014, and was found guilty by a jury on February 24 2017.
Before his conviction, Uncles ran for Kent’s police and crime commissioner in 2016, but finished bottom of the pile, gaining just over 8,000 votes.
Investigating officer det sgt Alec Wood said: “In the 2013 local elections, Uncles submitted a number of nomination papers to council returning officers that contained details that were either materially false, were not signed by those who were standing, or simply didn’t exist at all.
“In two cases the identities of two very elderly persons were used without their explicit knowledge.
“These actions have deceived voters into casting a vote for persons who simply could never have taken office.
“These actions have undermined the electoral process which is the mechanism by which democratic societies determine the direction and control of our communities and society.
“Under the relevant legislation these offences are a ‘corrupt practice’ which means Uncles is barred from standing in an election for the next five years.
“I hope that the sentence issued by the court today serves as a reminder that those who tamper with the election process that they will be held to account in a criminal court.”
Robin Tilbrook, a founding member and chair of the English Democrats, confirmed the party had accepted Uncles’ resignation from the party.
He said: “It seems to me that he’s been convicted for something pretty silly, rather than something where someone commits burglarly and they don’t go to prison.”
Mr Tilbrook added that while the former regional leader “should not have” committed the crimes, “it did not make any difference” to the elections concerned.
A source close to Uncles claims he is appealing the court’s decision.