Anti-gay politician Jim Wells claims he’s been ‘vindicated’ after woman admits wasting police time

Homophobic Northern Irish politician Jim Wells claims he has been “vindicated” – after a woman who pursued a complaint against him admitted wasting police time.

The Democratic Unionist Party politician was formerly the country’s Health Minister, and was one of the most hardline anti-LGBT politicians to serve on the Executive.

Mr Wells branded Pride parades ‘repugnant’, refused to take part in LGBT rights debates, and ignored scientific advice to keep a permanent ‘gay blood’ ban in place.

But he resigned in 2015 after outrage over alleged anti-gay comments during a hustings in South Downs.

Mr Wells had said during the hustings: “All evidence throughout the world says the best way to raise children is in a loving, stable, married relationship; the facts show that, the facts show that certainly you don’t bring a child up in a homosexual relationship.

“I say again, I say again, a child is far more likely to be abused or neglected in a non-stable marriage situation, gay or straight.”

Mr Wells denied that he was suggesting children of gay parents are more likely to be abused, and insisted his remarks were taken out of context.

49-year-old Dorothy Elaine Gardner, of Dungannon, had filed a police complaint about the comments – but police found that she had not been present at the hustings and determined her report was not accurate.

Appearing in court today, Ms Gardner admitted “wasteful employment of the police by knowingly making a false report or statement tending to show that an offence had been committed by Mr James Wells MLA”.

Following the court appearance, Mr Wells claimed he had been “vindicated” of any wrongdoing.

He said: “Today at Downpatrick Court Ms Dorothy Gardner pleaded guilty to making false allegations against me regarding an Election Hustings event.

“My reputation and political career were destroyed by a series of totally false reports of what I said at that hustings meeting.

“As a result of these I was for forced to resign as health minister and suffered months of online abuse.

“I now hope that Ms Gardner and the other individuals who sought to destroy my reputation will now publicly apologise for the huge damage they have caused me over the last 14 months”.

He claims that a full transcript of the event clears him of any allegations of homophobia.

Despite denying making homophobic comments in one instance, Mr Wells has never contested making comments describing gay pride as “repugnant”.

Ms Gardner will be sentenced on 25 August.

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