Victorian council candidate MaryAnn Lindsay is no dummy, the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court sitting as the Municipal Electoral Tribunal ruled yesterday – or no dummy candidate.

Magistrate Caitlin English accepted arguments by Lindsay and her partner Carl Marsich that there were no dummy candidates run by the ALP in the Hobsons Bay local government elections last year. The beak said on the balance of probabilities there was no attempt to deceive the voters.

It is, of course, very hard to prove a dummy candidate is a dummy candidate – short of an admission. Plaintiff and failed candidate for Altona North Noel Allsop had his work cut out for him.

The Magistrate also appeared to suggest that even if Lindsay had deceived the voters she could not have ordered a new poll. That was the decision in the case of Salata v Greco – remember the saga of Darebin Council, the frogs and the former assistant to an Elvis impersonator – in which the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal ordered both parties to pay their own costs, but declined to order a new poll.

The Hobsons Bay Community First group have reacted fierce, with a media release headed “Alleged ALP stooge candidate retains seat on Hobsons Bay Council.”

“A Melbourne Magistrates’ Court hearing today found there was insufficient evidence to prove a Hobsons Bay Councillor – who stood for election as an independent and did not disclose her Labor Party membership in her official candidate statement – misled and deceived voters,” it says. “Her Honour, Magistrate Caitlin English, today found that Hobsons Bay Community First did not sufficiently prove their claim that Cr. MaryAnn Lindsay, a member of the Labor Party who stood for election at last year’s Hobsons Bay Council Election, misled and deceived voters by not disclosing her Labor Party membership in her official candidate statement.”

“This is an unfortunate outcome, but the burden of proof was against us, and that legal hurdle was too great.”

Hobsons Bay Community First has more to say here, while fans of apocryphal Victorian ALP Kremlinology and other sufferers from obsessive compulsive disorders can also read more about the case at Andrew Landeryou’s OC blogand the Andrew Slandersyou site.