Derby

Councillor Richard Smalley jailed for lying about address

Richard Smalley Image copyright Derby City Council
Image caption Richard Smalley had previously served on Derby City Council

A former councillor has been jailed for two months after admitting giving a false address in order to win a safe Conservative seat.

Richard Smalley was elected to Derby City Council in May for the Allestree ward.

He had filled an electoral form saying he lived in Allestree - when his real address was in Borrowash, outside the Derby city boundary.

He pleaded guilty to providing a false address to an elections officer.

The 49-year-old resigned after 10 days due to rumours he had been "rumbled", sparking a by-election expected to cost the public £30,000.

Jailing him, District Judge Jonathan Taaffe said: "This is an attack on the fundamental principles of democracy and a gross breach of trust."

'Uneasy at the situation'

Prosecuting at Derby Magistrates' Court, Fiona Morrison said Smalley claimed to live at the address of someone he knew so that he could stand at the election.

Smalley had previously served on the council between 2002 and 2008 in a different ward and got involved in politics again in 2015.

Ms Morrison said he knew "if anyone stood for the Conservatives in Allestree that they would be elected there".

Image caption Richard Smalley pleaded guilty at Derby Magistrates' Court to providing a false address to an elections officer

In mitigation, Andrew Oldroyd admitted his client felt "uneasy at the situation" on election night as the gravity of his crime became apparent.

He was elected with 2,820 votes - more than 2,000 votes ahead of Labour's Oleg Sotnicenko - and became deputy leader of the Conservative group on the Labour-run authority.

'Previous good character'

But Smalley then became aware of rumours on Facebook he had been "rumbled", and he resigned.

Mr Oldroyd said his client was dealing with personal issues when he made the false statement in January.

"Politics was a useful diversion from the stresses and strains," Mr Oldroyd said.

"It was that stress which explains why a man of 49-years-old and previous good character finds himself in the situation he is in."