Former councillor’s wife is sentenced to 200 hour payback order

Carolle Ralph – placed in ‘fear and alarm’

The wife of a former Heldon and Laich councillor has been ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work over eight months when she appeared at Elgin Sheriff Court today.

Joan Stewart, 59, was ordered to complete a Community Payback Order after she had admitted at an earlier hearing sending six letters to former councillor Carolle Ralph, placing her in ‘fear and alarm’, as well as a letter to the SNP Group leader at Moray Council, Pearl Paul,¬†criticising Mrs Ralph’s work and making offensive comments about her family.

The offences took place over an seven-month period, the first being on the day that Mrs Ralph was elected to Moray Council and Mrs Stewart’s husband, David, lost his seat.

Mr Stewart had served for five years as an SNP councillor for the same ward and worked alongside Mrs Ralph in the highly publicised campaign to keep the RAF base at Lossiemouth open.

Passing sentence, Sheriff Susan Raeburn QC said that Mrs Stewart should be placed under supervision for 12 months which would include work on anger management.

She was also the subject of a two-year harassment order.

The Sheriff described the actions of Mrs Stewart as “base and despicable”, adding that she was fortunate not to be facing a custodial sentence.

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