The jury in Cardiff Crown Court today took only 90 minutes to find office manager Jenny Lee Clarke NOT GUILTY of allegations brought against her by Swansea MP Carolyn Harris – Deputy Leader of the Welsh Labour Party .
Ms Clarke has been found not guilty of forgery and fraud alleged by her former boss, the MP Carolyn Harris.
Mrs Harris was elected Deputy Leader of the Welsh Labour Party after having been endorsed for election by Stephen Doughty (Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth) . However her version of events, given over several days in Cardiff Crown Court, appears not to have been accepted by the jury.
The defendant, Ms Jenny Lee Clarke (42) – who had been the office manager for Carolyn Harris – was accused of having fraudulently submitted a form increasing her annual pay from £37,000 to £39,000. Ms Clarke explained that she routinely put Mrs Harris’s name on paperwork – on Mrs Harris’s instructions – but had not forged her signature.
A jury at Cardiff Crown Court took less than 90 minutes to find Miss Clarke not guilty of both charges she faced.
The jury had also heard allegations that Mrs Harris had “clawed” at the hair of Ms Clarke and had pulled out clumps – an encounter which was testified to by a Swansea Labour councillor who was an eyewitness, but which was denied by Mrs Harris.
Carolyn Harris MP is not only Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in Wales but also the spokesperson for “women and equalities” in Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet . However the court heard that Mrs Harris had made derogatory comments about Ms Clarke – who is gay – and had referred to her office manager’s “dyke boots”.
Mrs Harris and Ms Clarke had originally worked together for a former Swansea MP Sian James – but, when Ms James had stood down from her safe Labour Parliamentary seat, it had been gifted to Mrs Harris. Ms Clarke had then worked for Mrs Harris.
Mrs Harris told the court that there was what she called “office banter” but denied ever having authorised a pay rise for Ms Clarke and said she could not remember saying anything about “dyke boots” – but said that if she had done so, it would have been “banter”.