Wellington, Feb 19: A court in New Zealand Wednesday sentenced a Sikh leader to five months of community detention after he was found guilty of forging documents in a bid to win a local body election in 2010, a media report said.
The Auckland High Court Wednesday also ordered Daljit Singh, a senior member of New Zealand’s Supreme Sikh Council, to do 200 hours of community work, the New Zealand Herald reported.
The 43-year-old former Labour Party candidate was running for the Otara-Papatoetoe local board in the Auckland council in 2010 when he the forged addresses of a large number of people on the Electoral Enrollment Centre’s website to include them within the constituency.
Singh was arrested shortly before polling closed and therefore, could not win the polls.Later he was acquitted of 18 electoral fraud charges of the total 20 he faced. He applied for a discharge without conviction, which was opposed by the crown prosecutor.
His lawyer, Ron Mansfield, argued that a conviction would end Daljit’s employment as a real estate agent and endanger his roles as a justice of the peace, immigration adviser and marriage celebrant.
Five other men – Gurinder Atwal, Mandeep Singh, Virender Singh, Paramjit Singh and Malkeet Singh – were also found guilty of forging documents.
“This was not victimless offending. The victims are the public at large, who have faith in the democratic process. Your actions have undermined one of the most important processes of the country,” Judge Mark Woolford was quoted as telling the men.