Mid Ulster woman in court over alleged lies that led to former Health Minister’s resignation

Dorothy Elaine Dawn Gardne attends Downpatrick Court on Tuesday, She  is charged with "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". 
Pic Pacemaker
Dorothy Elaine Dawn Gardne attends Downpatrick Court on Tuesday, She is charged with "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". Pic Pacemaker

A Mid Ulster woman whose alleged lies led to the resignation of former Health Minister Jim Wells MLA appeared in court for the first time yesterday (Tuesday).

Last Thursday at Downpatrick Magistrate’s Court, defence barrister Noel Dillon said while the case against Dorothy Elaine Dawn Gardner was set for trial later this month, if it was listed for review yesterday “there may well be progress”.

He earlier confirmed the defence team were ready for the contest later this month.

While she was charged some months ago, Gardner has never actually physically been in court until now.

Gardner, 48, from the Killycanavan Road in Dungannon, is charged with wasting police time by knowingly making a false report to police to show that an offence had been committed by Mr Wells on April 28 last year.

The charge relates to a complaint made to the PSNI following a hustings meeting in Downpatrick where Mr Wells was alleged to have said: “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.”

Against a background of uproar, he then added: “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.”

The DUP MLA has always claimed however that the recording was “doctored” and has recently lamented: “Essentially, I resigned over remarks which it now turns out I did not say - I feel a huge sense of injustice.”

It emerged during earlier court hearings, which were adjourned for medical reports, that Ms Gardner is battling terminal cancer.

But it is understood that despite continuous requests she is refusing to allow her medical notes to be viewed or released.

The case continues.