WALTHAM FOREST: Campaign launched to clear sex slur councillor's name (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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WALTHAM FOREST: Campaign launched to clear sex slur councillor's name
A CAMPAIGN has been launched to clear the name of disgraced councillor Miranda Grell, who was found guilty of falsely claiming an election rival was a paedophile.
Grell, 29, was a rising star in the Labour party and an aide to the Deputy Mayor of London Nicky Gavron.
She overturned a large Liberal Democrat majority to win a Leyton ward seat in the May 2006 local elections.
But last month a judge found that he had no reason to doubt the testimony of two witnesses who claimed Grell told them while canvassing that the former Lib Dem councillor Barry Smith had a sexual interest in young Thai boys.
A campaign has been set up to raise the £30,000 she estimates she needs to pay her legal fees and raise awareness about her appeal, which Grell said has now been formally lodged.
Grell said the campaign, entitled Justice for Leyton Ward, is a non-party political, independent campaign set up by her friends and family.
Justice for Leyton Ward chairman Andrew Lock said: "Miranda and everyone who knows her were utterly shocked at the guilty verict against her.
"Those of us who campaigned with Miranda in 2006 remember nothing but a happy, vibrant, and exciting local election campaign that energised the Leyton community and parts of the ward that had been abandoned for years.
"Miranda is maintaining her innocence."