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Election day in court for jIM Wells as woman's case is adjourned

By Noel McAdam

Published 29/04/2016

Jim Wells
Jim Wells

DUP candidate Jim Wells is to spend election day in court after a case against a woman charged over the controversy that led to his resignation as health minister was adjourned.

It was the second time that the case against the Co Tyrone woman, relating to wasting police time, was delayed.

Dorothy Elaine Dawn Gardner (48) of Killycanavan Road, Dungannon, was present along with Mr Wells at Downpatrick court yesterday.

She is accused of causing "wasteful employment of the police by knowingly making a false report or statement tending to show that an offence had been committed by Mr James Wells MLA".

Her barrister, Noel Dillon, asked for an adjournment of three to four weeks to allow for the preparation of medical reports. But the judge said he would not that period of time and instead listed the case for Thursday May 5 - the day of the Assembly election.

Mrs Gardner was not present when a previous four-week adjournment was granted by District Judge Alan White.

The case is not connected to a separate police inquiry into the taping of allegedly anti-gay remarks by Mr Wells at a public event in the run-up to last year's General Election.

Instead, the charges are believed to relate to a complaint made to the PSNI following a hustings meeting in Downpatrick last April. At the last hearing, it was suggested that the case might involve the preparation of medical reports.

Mr Wells, who has said he would like the case to be dealt with before polling day, has long claimed that the recording of allegedly anti-gay comments at an event was "doctored" and gave a misleading impression.

A few days after the meeting in Downpatrick, however, he was also involved in an altercation with a lesbian couple while canvassing in Rathfriland. Police investigated both incidents and concluded there was no basis for a prosecution of Mr Wells.

At the event in question, he said: "All evidence... says the best way to raise children is in a loving, stable, married relationship. The facts show that. The facts show that certainly you don't bring a child up in a homosexual relationship."

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