Lincoln Tan

Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Labour man fights election fraud charges

Daljit Singh has pleaded not guilty to electoral fraud charges relating to the 2010 elections. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Daljit Singh has pleaded not guilty to electoral fraud charges relating to the 2010 elections. Photo / Brett Phibbs

A Labour Party candidate in the first Super City elections denies he committed electoral fraud.

Daljit Singh is on trial in the High Court at Auckland on 20 charges of using forged documents to increase his chances of winning a seat on his local board.

Seven other men - Gurinder Atwal, Davinder Singh, Mandeep Singh, Virender Singh, Paramjit Singh, Malkeet Singh and Harmish Singh - are also on trial for electoral fraud, but fewer counts.

All have also pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Crown prosecutor Robin McCoubrey told the court that Daljit Singh falsely changed the addresses of a large number of people on the Electoral Enrolment Centre's website before the 2010 election so that they were registered as living within the boundaries of the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board.

Most were Sikhs with the surname Singh, or Kaur for the women, and many were unaware their details had been changed.

Mr McCoubrey said the enrolment centre contacted the police when it noticed a large number of names were being registered in the electorate and that forms were being downloaded from computers that had the same IP addresses.

The Crown alleged the seven other defendants helped Daljit Singh, some by providing him with personal details of people who lived outside of Auckland.

Mr Singh is a real estate agent, marriage celebrant and licensed immigration adviser.

He is also a spokesman for the New Zealand Sikh Society and convener of the Supreme Sikh Council.

He did not receive enough votes to be elected to the local board, and was arrested just days before polling closed.

A police investigation was launched after more than 300 people were removed from the electoral roll due to irregularities, and it was reported that 48 were registered as living at one address.

The trial has been set down for six weeks. Evidence will be heard from today.

Justice Mark Woolford told the jury of two men and 10 women that three or four of the defendants had some difficulty with the English language, and Punjabi interpreters would be used.

The trial was shifted to the High Court because of public interest in the case.

- NZ Herald

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