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Darren Grimes: Brexit Campaign Winner Appeals Against £ 20,000 Penalty



Darren Grimes

Image caption

Darren Grimes founded the BeLeave youth group.

The founder of the youth-oriented advocacy group Brexit BeLeave won its appeal against the £ 20,000 fine imposed by the election regulator.

Darren Grimes was punished by the Electoral Commission last year after he was accused of violating spending rules during the 2016 EU referendum.

The political work of the group took place at the headquarters of the election leave – the official campaign of Brexit.

Mr. Grimes said he was "relieved" because the case "took huge losses."

He claimed that he was “completely innocent" of making false statements regarding a donation of £ 675,315 from permission to vote, and accused the Electoral Commission of "bias" against supporters of leave.

But the watchdog insisted that its investigation was “thorough and fair” and that it was conducting investigations against campaigners on both sides of the battle for the referendum.

Last year, the Election Commission found that BeLeave "spent more than 675,000 pounds with (Canadian Information Firm) Aggregate IQ on a general plan with permission to vote", which was to be announced last, but was not.

These costs have led to the fact that "Voting for vacation" exceeded the limit of legal expenses of 7 million pounds sterling by almost 500 thousand pounds.

But Mr. Grimes, 25, from Durham County, appealed the fine by raising money for online legal costs, citing "errors in facts, laws and groundlessness."

The court heard that the commission misinterpreted the law, and set the key legal criterion “too high” to determine whether BeLeave was properly registered in official forms.

Mr. Grimes said that he intended to register the organization, and not himself as a person in the forms, and his lawyers said that the complex and difficult to understand forms were filled to the best of their ability.

Judge Mark Dait said that even if by January 2016, BeLeave did not have an official constitution, it was clear that it included like-minded people who agreed to campaign for Brexit in a certain way.

He said that Mr. Grimes was trying to fulfill his obligations to the commission when filling out the forms, and that his actions were not dishonest or did not provide transparency.

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Responding to the success of his appeal, in the court of the mayor and the City of London, Mr. Grimes tweeted that he was “delighted and released”, adding that the case “caused great damage to me and my family.”

In a statement, he said: “It is vitally important that more young people be encouraged to participate in politics and that their voices be heard.

“I just hope that the punitive actions of the Election Commission will not prevent my generation from participating in our democracy.”

He also criticized the guard case.

“The case of the Electoral Commission was based on an incorrect mark in the application form, which she knew for more than two years and did not rise in the course of the two previous investigations,” reads his statement.

“Nevertheless, the commission nevertheless considered it advisable to issue an excessive fine and spend almost half a million taxpayers in cash, pursuing me through the courts.

"This raises serious questions about his behavior both during and after the referendum."

The election commission said it was "disappointed."

“Now we will consider all the details of the decision before making a decision on further steps, including any appeal,” it was informed.


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