Wells pledges further action after woman sentenced for lying about him

DUP MLA Jim Wells
DUP MLA Jim Wells

Jim Wells has pledged further action will follow against people whom he believes have wronged him following the sentencing of a woman for lying about remarks he made at an election hustings.

The South Down MLA and former health minister had vowed to “clear his name” after resigning from his ministerial post following the emergence of remarks he made in Downpatrick in April 2015.

He had begun speaking about gay marriage, and then went on to speak about gay adoption, and the potential for children to be abused in “non-stable” marriage settings.

You can read his full remarks in a detailed transcript here.

Mr Wells had questioned whether “any reasonable person” who read the full transcript would think he was making the claim that “gays abuse their children”.

He said such a claim would be “nonsense”.

In a statement following the woman’s conviction on Thursday (see full story about her case here), he said: “My political career was destroyed as a result of totally false allegations made against me after an election hustings event held in Downpatrick on April 23, 2015.

“I was forced to resign as Health Minister and over the last 16 months I have been subjected to a torrent of abuse based on these false allegations.

“At today’s hearing it was revealed that Ms Gardner had made her false statements to the police because she wanted to ‘get Jim Wells’...

“If it had not been for the diligence of a senior PSNI detective I could have faced a very serious charge, and I am very grateful to that Detective Sergeant for his work on this case.

“The three month prison sentence (which was not suspended) was a clear indication of how seriously the court considered this crime and I would like to thank the judge for taking on board the huge damage and hurt these allegations caused me and my family.

“I must emphasise that Ms Gardner was not the only person who tried to destroy me after the Downpatrick event.

“There are at least three others who made similar allegations and I will not stop until they also face the courts.”