David Mackintosh trial told truth on funding would have 'blown up' campaign

A prospective Conservative MP's election campaign would have been seriously damaged had voters known the source of its funding, his trial heard.

David Mackintosh, elected as Northampton South MP in 2015, is accused of not disclosing to Northampton South Conservative Association the true source of the payments totalling £39,000.

He is accused alongside property developer Howard Grossman.

Both deny the charges.

In his closing speech, prosecutor William Boyce KC said Mr Mackintosh knew all along that his "bogus, disguised, concealed, hidden" donations originated from Mr Grossman and had been paid via a string of proxy donors.

Mr Mackintosh, 44, had a "burning ambition" to get elected to Parliament, he said, and had, as leader of Northampton Borough Council, pushed through a loan to Northampton Town FC in order to redevelop its stadium.

Had voters known that money donated to his campaign originated from stadium developer Mr Grossman, they would have been "driven away" and his campaign would have "blown up", Mr Boyce said.

This, he said, was why Mr Mackintosh concealed the true source of the money.

Neil Hawes KC, for Mr Grossman, likened the evidence put before the jury to a jigsaw puzzle with ill-fitting or missing pieces.

He questioned the testimony of Suresh Patel, who was chair and treasurer of Northampton South Conservatives at the time the donations were made.

The jury had heard police statements given by both defendants that Mr Patel had met the developer at the opening of Northampton Bus Station in March 2014 where Mr Grossman, 61, said he wanted to donate to Mr Mackintosh's campaign.

'Some witnesses lie well'

According to these accounts, Mr Patel had advised Mr Grossman he should make any donations via third parties, a claim Mr Patel denied in court.

Mr Hawes told the jury: "If you think it did or might have happened, you must find Mr Grossman not guilty."

Of Mr Grossman's decision not to give evidence, the barrister told the six men and six women they must not assume this meant he was guilty.

"The fact is, innocent people choose not to give evidence. Some witnesses lie well; some tell the truth badly," he said.

Cairns Nelson KC, for Mr Mackintosh, told the jury his client was unaware Mr Grossman was the source of the donations being made on his behalf.

He said that currently "being a Tory MP is not a starter for 10 in the popularity stakes" but they should put aside any notion of "'nudge, nudge, wink wink, he is a Tory MP - of course he knew'".

Mr Nelson drew the court's attention to facts agreed between prosecution and defence that corruption and bribery did not factor in this case.

He said of all the exhibits produced in court, "there is not a single document that indicates he is guilty".

The judge, Mrs Justice Eady, is expected to begin her summing up on Tuesday afternoon.

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