Arrest over 'dummy' poll candidate
A woman has been arrested after a mannequin was entered as a candidate for the upcoming council elections.
The dummy, named Helena Torry, was entered in the Hazlehead, Ashley and Queens Cross ward in Aberdeen. Its election "agent" Renee Slater was charged by Grampian Police on Thursday under the Representation of the People Act.
A force spokeswoman said: "Grampian Police can confirm that a 63-year-old female was charged in connection with an offence under the Representation of the People Act 1983 on Thursday April 19. A report will be sent to the procurator fiscal in due course.
"As the matter is now the subject of active proceedings, Grampian Police can make no further comment."
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: "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. 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."