MP accuses opponents of legal chicanery

The Labour MP for Leeds North East must face a private prosecution which he says is purely political.Roger Pearson reports. Allegations of politically motivated use of the law are likely to surface in a forthcoming private prosecution against Labour MP Fabian Hamilton.

Hamilton, who represents Leeds North East, has already accused his own accusers of politically motivated abuse of the legal process in the action that they are taking against him.

Four of his constituents, who admit they did not want him representing them in Parliament, launched the pending prosecution in the run-up to the General Election.

Initially, Leeds magistrates issued 31 summonses against Hamilton as a result of complaints from constituents Nick Whitehead, Bronwen Duncan, Deidre Quill and Juliet Boddington.

In moves at the High Court, Hamilton sought to have the summonses struck out, claiming that they amounted to a deliberate use of the criminal process to embarrass him and the Labour Party and force him to withdraw his candidacy. He claimed that the moves followed his selection as prospective candidate instead of left-winger Liz Davies.

So far, the four who instigated the prosecution have dropped 19 of the allegations against Hamilton, but that still leaves 12.

However, Hamilton, in an argument which is likely to be mirrored when the prosecution comes to court, claimed in his High Court bid before Lord Justice Brooke and Justice Gage that the allegations against him are pure technicalities.

They include complaints over alleged failure to display the company name outside Serif Systems, a computer company of which Hamilton is joint owner, and failure to disclose his previous surname, Uziel-Hamilton, to company registration authorities.

In dismissing Hamilton's High Court bid to end the prosecution moves, Lord Justice Brooke said that Hamilton had already been the subject of adverse publicity over his business affairs, including the collapse of previous companies in which he was involved. One had gone into liquidation owing £106,000 and another was wound up with debts of £60,000.