McAfee won’t face court action

A FORMER Ballymoney councillor who resigned after questions were raised over his eligibility to stand for council will not face legal action after the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) confirmed no charges will be brought against him.

Iain McAfee was elected as an independent in May 2011.

Mr McAfee immediately “stepped back” as soon as a query over his eligibility was brought to the attention of Ballymoney Borough Council a few weeks after his election.

The 1972 Local Government (Northern Ireland) Act disqualifies a person from standing for election if they hold any paid office with a council.

He works as a health inequalities officer funded by the Public Health Agency but is attached to Ballymena council.

In the wake of the news over his ineligibility police interviewed Mr McAfee and sent a file to the Public Prosecution Service to determine whether he had been in breach of electoral law.

On Friday Mr McAfee received a letter from the Public Prosecution Service to say no legal action was being taken regarding the situation.

“Obviously I’m delighted that this issue is going no further,” he said.

“I received a lot of advice before I was interviewed by police and from day one this was clear I had no case to answer.

“Why it went so far is not something I can discuss however I’m glad to, at last, be vindicated from any wrong-doing.

“Many people have suggested that I stand again at some stage.

“This now leaves that door open.”

There was also controversy after a mix-up by the Electoral Office over Mr McAfee’s replacement on the council, his wife Roma.

The issue of a by-election arose after the electoral office said it had no record of a letter nominating a replacement for Mr McAfee which had to be written before his resignation.

However, that changed when Mr McAfee produced a recorded delivery slip showing he sent correspondence to the chief Electoral Officer Graham Shields on 14 September.

It was signed as having been received the following day.

Mr McAfee resigned 11 days later, on 26 September.

The chief electoral officer then released a statement saying Mr McAfee had given “clear evidence” that a substitute’s list was properly submitted.

Roma McAfee took her husband’s place in October.