Witnesses claim Labour activist called Lib Dem a paedophile
A London court has heard evidence from a member of the public who says a Labour council candidate make allegations of paedophilia against her Lib Dem opponent.
Miranda Grell, 29, won a formerly safe Lib Dem seat on Waltham Forest council in last May’s elections.
Her opponent Barry Smith is now at the centre of a prosecution being brought against Ms Grell.
She has been charged with “making a false statement of fact about Mr Smith’s personal character or conduct,” contrary to election law. Ms Grell denies all the allegations against her.
Her Labour running mate in the council elections, Nicholas Russell, told Waltham Forest magistrates that Ms Grell’s attitude was “disgusting.”
He testified that he had heard her tell voters that her Lib Dem opponent Barry Smith had a 14-year-old Thai boyfriend.
Leyton resident Naomi Robinson told the court:
“Miss Grell told me to ask him [Mr Smith] about his 14-year-old boyfriend as she was driving away from the front of the house.
“I was quite shocked actually. I was not sure whether to believe it was true or not,” she said, according to the BBC.
Mr Smith is in a long-term relationship with a 39-year-old Malaysian man.
He saw his majority of 600 overturned by Ms Grell, who won the Leyton ward council seat with a majority of 28.
He claims he suffered verbal abuse accusing him of paedophilia.
Ms Grell described the allegations as absurd during a police interview.
She admitted telling a voter that Mr Smith is gay and has a 19-year-old boyfriend.
Ms Grell, who works in City Hall as a researcher for London’s Deputy Mayor Nicky Gavron, has a strong support base in the Labour party, and is viewed as a high-flyer.
The trial continues.