Saturday, April 28, 2012

Margaret Moran: Expenses Fraud

Morgan Moran (Tory)

Former Luton South MP Margaret Moran, who is accused of fiddling her parliamentary expenses, will not face a jury, a judge has decided.

Mr Justice Saunders said Ms Moran, 56, would not have to appear in court, after psychiatrist Philip Joseph said she was not fit to stand trial.

Dr Joseph said the ex-Labour MP was suffering from a depressive illness and had extreme anxiety and agitation.

Ms Moran did not attend the hearing at Lewes Crown Court.

Ms Moran, of Ivy Road, St Denys, Southampton, Hampshire, was described as weeping inconsolably when she appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court last year on 15 charges of false accounting and six of using a false instrument relating to expense claims totalling about £80,000.

It is alleged that Ms Moran, who stood down at the last election, "flipped" her designated second home, making claims for properties in London, Luton and Southampton.

Other allegations include that she dishonestly claimed £22,500 to repair dry rot at her Southampton home.

She is also accused of falsely claiming £14,805 for boiler repairs and work on her conservatory.

Dr Joseph told Lewes Crown Court the stress of the proceedings and allegations she was facing made it impossible for her to participate in court proceedings.

He said she had tried to harm herself and there was a risk of suicide.

He added that she felt feelings of abandonment by the Labour Party and shame that her career was over.

Mr Justice Saunders said: "Dr Joseph has attempted to discuss the allegations with her and is satisfied that she is not able to give proper instructions.

"He recorded her as saying 'I just want to plead guilty and be punished', but his view and my judgement is that is unlikely to have been a response reached after a proper consideration of the allegations and is simply an attempt to get the matter over with and assuage feelings of guilt which may relate to other matters."

He added that both sides were in broad agreement and all the experts agreed that Ms Moran is unfit to plead.

The case was adjourned to Southwark Crown Court on 15 November for a three-day hearing for a jury to determine whether the defendant committed the acts alleged by the prosecution.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Brian Silvester - Multiple convictions

Brian Silvester (Tory Councillor)

Cllr Silvester, a former deputy council leader, is to be prosecuted by his own authority for failing to obtain a licence for a house of multiple occupation.

But now the councillor of 35 years standing will face a joint prosecution by the council and the fire service in relation to the building he rents out as bedsits at his home in Shavington House Farm on Crewe Road, Shavington.

In January the building was shut down by the fire service after it was declared a fire safety risk.

A prohibition notice was served against the flats, forbidding them to be used for sleeping and living accommodation while the safety issues were rectified.

And now, after months of investigation, the fire service has decided to prosecute.

As the council and the fire service share the same legal team, the original court date has been pushed back to accommodate both charges.

Cllr Silvester, who is being prosecuted alongside his brother Colin, will now appear at South Cheshire Magistrates Court to face the charges next month.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pervez Choudhry - Bigamy

Pervez Choudry (Tory at time of the charge)

The former leader of the Conservative party on Slough Borough Council has pleaded guilty to bigamy.

Councillor Pervez Choudhry, of Tuns Lane, Slough, was arrested and charged with one count of bigamy in August 2010.

The 53-year-old defected to the Tories in 2009 after being elected as the Labour candidate for Central Ward, but is now an independent councillor.

Mr Choudhry will be sentenced at Reading Crown Court on Friday 18 May.

His term of office runs until 3 May.

Mr Choudry said he was unable to comment because it was a "sub judice matter" but that "this case has no bearing or will have no bearing on my standing as a councillor".

Slough Borough Council said it was a "private matter".


Monday, April 16, 2012

Lord Ahmed - Suspended from Labour

Peer Ahmed (Labour)

Peer Lord Ahmed suspended after 'offering £10m bounty on Barack Obama and George Bush'.

A peer has been suspended from the Labour Party amid reports that he offered a £10 million bounty for the capture of President Barack Obama and his predecessor President George W Bush.

Lord Ahmed, 53, who in 1998 became the first Muslim life peer, was reported to have made the comments at a conference in Haripur in Pakistan.

According to Pakistan's Express Tribune newspaper Lord Ahmed offered the bounty in response to a US action a week ago.

The British peer reportedly said: "'If the US can announce a reward of $10 million for the (capture) of Hafiz Saeed, I can announce a bounty of £10 million (for the capture of) President Obama and his predecessor, George Bush."

A former Pakistani foreign minister and a provincial education minister were said to have been present at the reception.

Lord Ahmed, who was born in Pakistan, became Baron Ahmed of Rotherham at the age of 40.


Tuesday, April 03, 2012

George Lord: Sexual Assault (Sentencing)

George Lord (Conservative)

Former Worcestershire County Council leader George Lord has been jailed for four years for a series of sexual assaults.

The 79-year old was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court this morning (Tuesday).

It was reported last month how Lord had pleaded guilty to three charges of indecent assault on a girl in the 1970s when he was a lay minister of a church in Droitwich and performed a number of sexual acts on the teenager.

He had already been found guilty of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old in the council chamber at Worcestershire County Council in 2010.

Lord was told he will spend at least half of his four year sentence in jail.