Discharge in electoral roll hearing

PUBLISHED: 09:41 10 November 2006 | UPDATED: 12:06 04 May 2010

THE thirteenth person to be prosecuted for failing to fill in an electoral registration form appeared before Ely magistrates this week. But instead of receiving a fine like the other dozen people, Portuguese man Jose Araujo was given an absolute discharge

THE thirteenth person to be prosecuted for failing to fill in an electoral registration form appeared before Ely magistrates this week.

But instead of receiving a fine like the other dozen people, Portuguese man Jose Araujo was given an absolute discharge by the court.

Solicitor Jacqui Baldwin said 56-year-old Araujo had been confused by the council's many letters and forms, asking him to give the names of people living at his home in Pratt Street, Soham, because the system was different from his home country.

"In Portugal you complete one form, and only if you move do you need to fill in another form," she explained. "He did complete a form when he was first in this country, and then got another form, with his name already on it.

"He assumed that because his name was already on the form, that information was with local government."

Factory worker Araujo, who gave an address of G's Marketing in Barway, admitted failing to provide the information to East Cambridgeshire District Council on December 1 last year.

"There was no malice intended, it was clearly a mistake on his part," added Miss Baldwin. "He thought he only needed to notify a change, rather than notify annually."

Prosecuting for the council, Sian Scanlon told the court that Araujo had been given one year's grace when he failed to return the form in 2004, and had numerous opportunities to fill in the 2005 form.

Presiding magistrate Kathy Bradney, who ordered Araujo to pay £100 costs, told him: "We have heard your mitigation and understand the difficulties. You must be very careful in the future."

- Two weeks earlier, one person was fined £300, six people were fined £200, four people were fined £150, one person was fined £50 for a similar offence.

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