Latest: Aug. 13, 2018
From the bottom of my heart, thank you
Almost 2,000 ...
Hi, I’m Darren Grimes.
You might also know me as the 22-year-old who the Electoral Commission recently fined £20,000 and accused of criminal conduct - principally because I ticked the wrong box on a form 2 years ago.
As you may be aware, I am just the latest in a long line of Leave campaigners that the Commission have issued trumped up charges against. I am raising funds to mount my legal defence and I need your support - please contribute what you can and share this page on Twitter and Facebook.
What is the case?
I want to fight the Commission’s verdict for two reasons. One, I think their judgment against me is wrong in both fact and law. Two, I think I need to highlight the Commission’s poor conduct to ensure that our public bodies act in a proper way - and don’t abuse their position.
That's why I'm launching this legal action to challenge their decision and refute their accusation of criminal misconduct.
Everything I have seen and been through in the last two years has convinced me that no amount of evidence, no amount of facts will dissuade the Commission from finding me and other Leave campaigners guilty.
Firstly, the Electoral Commission’s judgement is simply wrong and based on inaccurate assertions and a misunderstanding of the law. As an example, they clearly have the wrong understanding of the basic law on how unincorporated associations are set up and work.
An unincorporated association is an organisation set up by two or more people with a common purpose; there is no requirement for a written agreement. Yet the Commission refuse to accept that BeLeave was an unincorporated association prior to May 2016, despite accepted evidence that online content was being produced by BeLeave, funding was being secured and a group of us were all working towards the same aims.
In other words, their judgement is based on a deeply flawed reading of the law.
There is no evidence because I am completely innocent - but they don’t care.
My lawyers agree with this and want to fight the case. They also want to challenge the way I was misled when I applied for BeLeave to be registered for the referendum, and the untrue suggestion that it was just Vote Leave’s plaything. BeLeave’s campaign was original and focussed on young people who are not actively represented in UK politics.
It is very worrying that a Government body is making such fundamental errors in such a high profile case. I need your help to make sure that these errors are exposed, and to cast light on a serious failing by a public body. I believe that the facts - if brought to the attention of a judge - will exonerate me, not brand me as a criminal.
I am not a rich person. I honestly don’t know how I’m going to pay the maximum fine.
But this isn't just about me
Most importantly, I don’t want to let the Commission get away with this.
I believe the Commission’s conduct has been appalling. We depend on organisations like the Commission to safeguard our democracy. How long before they start going after parties their senior figures dislike? How long until candidates they have a grudge against find themselves unfairly penalised?
They have reversed their previous decisions with no justifiable grounds. They have breached an undertaking to my solicitor. They have based their judgment on information that they have refused to disclose to me, so I cannot see the evidence that renders me ‘guilty’. They have also taken evidence from a witness (whose truthfulness and reliability has been constantly challenged) in private, not allowing me the chance to test his assertions made against me.
On top of all this, the Commission has also accepted that even on their case there are substantial matters in mitigation but they have ignored them when deciding their sanction and fined me the maximum possible.
Public bodies shouldn’t act like this. I want to push back against this sort of conduct as a matter of principle - no judicial body or quasi-judicial body should conduct itself like this.
According to expert legal analysis, the Commission are wrong in law, wrong in fact and have been wholly unreasonable. I am very confident that the Appeal Court will overturn their decision - and in doing so will force the Commission to reconsider the way it conducts itself. But I need your help to do it.
Please help me see off these unfair accusations, and highlight the Commission’s failings.
Aug. 13, 2018
From the bottom of my heart, thank you
Almost 2,000 of you decided to back me and my campaign, in only 20 days I've raised £60,511. My Appeal, funded by all of you, will challenge the Electoral Commission's decision as being wrong in law, wrong in fact, predicated on a selective use of facts, and both disproportionate and completely unreasonable.
Again, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
July 30, 2018
Saunders Law on behalf of Darren Grimes concerning the DCMS report
DCMS has seen fit to publish a report suggesting our client Darren Grimes is guilty of offences, before his case has been heard by a Court, referring to ‘evidence of Russian state-sponsored attempts to influence elections in the US and the UK through social media, of the efforts of private companies to do the same, and of law-breaking by certain Leave campaign groups in the UK’s EU Referendum in their use of social media.’
July 26, 2018
A statement by James Saunders of Saunders Law
Saunders Law has been instructed by Darren Grimes to appeal a penal ‘Final Notice’ issued by the Electoral Commission fining him £20,000 for alleged Brexit irregularities. The appeal will challenge this Notice as being wrong in law, wrong in fact, predicated on a selective use of facts, and both disproportionate and completely unreasonable.
Darren yesterday made a Crowd Funding appeal for funds to fight the case in Court, and is very grateful to the many who have generously supported him. As the Electoral Commission has chosen to publish its case in advance of the appeal, and so risk prejudice to due process, limited information about Darren’s case is published below, and will be updated as matters develop.
Read the statement in full here: https://www.saunders.co.uk/news/darren-grimes-statement-by-james-saunders.html
July 25, 2018
Your donation will help me fight this in court, not pay the Electoral Commission
I want to be absolutely clear that each donation will go directly to my lawyer, to mount a legal challenge as indicated on my case page, and not to pay the Electoral Commission's proposed fine.
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