Wiltshire’s former Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner candidate has been formally acquitted of election fraud.

Jonathon Seed had been charged with knowingly making a false statement on nomination papers when he stood in the Wiltshire and Swindon Police and Crime Commissioner elections in 2021.

But Judge Michael Gledhill QC recorded a ‘not guilty’ verdict in the 64-year-old’s case at Oxford Crown Court today after the CPS dropped the charge because there was “no longer a realistic prospect of conviction”.

Seed, who won the vote to become Wiltshire’s PCC in May 2021, had not disclosed a drink driving conviction from 1993. The election was re-run at the expected cost of £1.5m and was won by another Conservative Philip Wilkinson. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had backed Seed's campaign at the time.

PCC candidates are automatically barred from standing for the job if they have a conviction for an ‘imprisonable’ offence. Seed was not jailed for drink driving but the offence carries the potential for a prison sentence.

Judge Gledhill adjourned the case last week because he demanded a fuller explanation for why the CPS was applying to offer no evidence - saying he was “not a rubber stamp”.

Calling it a “serious and sensitive case”, the judge added: “The public is entitled to know the reasons why this decision has been taken.”

Prosecutor Rhiannon Sadler said: “The prosecution must prove at the time of making the statement that this defendant knew his conviction for an imprisonable offence disqualified him from standing.” 

Seed claimed he had made an “honest mistake” and that he told two Conservative Party members involved in the election process about the convictions for drink driving and failing to stop at the scene of an accident in 1993.

He said he had ‘received assurances’ from them but the two individuals – who were not named in Monday’s court hearing – provided statements saying they were not told.  

The court also heard how another candidate, the Green Party’s Graham ‘Brig’ Oubridge, had been sent to jail for three days for failing to pay a fine. Seed’s legal team planned to make an argument about the prosecution of the Conservative candidate being in ‘bad faith’.

Seed, of Chittoe Heath in Bromham, had been due to go on trial this month.

Ms Sadler summed up by saying that, “in the circumstances”, it “was more likely than not the jury would find the defence case credible.”

Seed’s lawyers have made an application to the court for ‘wasted costs’ so it was decided that Judge Gledhill would listen to the arguments about whether costs should be awarded on September 9.