By Dominic Ponsford
Police have been accused of over-reacting after detaining a Daily Mail journalist who was investigating vote fraud.
Christian Gysin was conducting a follow-up to the Mail’s
investigation of February 2004, in which journalists registered to vote
in 31 constituencies as Gus Troobev (an anagram of bogus voter).
month the paper found that at least 14 Gus Troobevs were still
registered to vote. On 23 April, Gysin travelled to an address in
Poole, Dorset, where one of the Troobev voting cards had been sent.
Unfortunately for him, the householders apparently informed Dorset police and a contingent of officers was there to meet him.
though Gysin explained he had no intention of using the false voting
card and was carrying out a journalistic investigation he was locked up
for 20 hours. His home in London was also raided in the early hours of
the morning, disturbing his wife and young child, and computer
equipment was confiscated.Daily Mail managing editor Charles Garside
said: “We were surprised by the police reaction as our reporter
immediately identified himself as a bona fide journalist and said he
was testing how easy it was to get a postal vote.
“We consider exposing any potential fraud in the voting system as clearly in the public interest.”
Associated Newspapers title, the Evening Standard, is facing a separate
police investigation after forging signatures on ballot papers in an
attempt to expose possible postal vote rigging.