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.



Shane said...

There is more than a touch of irony about this situation. I imagine that Margaret laughed all the way to the bank when she made her expenses' claims. It is hard to believe that she suffered no anxiety when she flipped her homes to benefit from a generous handout or when she used questionable invoices to support other spurious claims.

It seems that her current mental health problems are tied up with getting caught. In my experience people are generally full of remorse when they are caught out committing criminal offences. I do not imagine that the average person caught committing low level benefit fraud to feed their starving kids is able to pull a stroke like this; they all seem to face the music and suffer the consequences for dishonesty without much fuss. I hear that Margaret has repeatedly said that she has done "nothing wrong;" people who insist that they have done nothing wrong are usually very upbeat about being tried in a criminal court and relish the prospect of clearing their names; remember Harry Redknapp.

Whilst I accept that Mr Justice Saunders' decision about Margaret Moran not being fit to stand trial, or fit to serve a prison sentence,is based on medical evidence, it is worth remembering that Ernest Saunders was released from prison because he was supposedly unfit to serve his sentence on account of suffering from Altzheimers and then on being released got miraculously better.

Anonymous said...

She may not be jailed for this but will certainly spend a long time in hospital reciving psychiatric care because she threatened to harm herself and admitted she had a mental health problem.

Anonymous said...

Yes, and if she tries to leave they can make her a section 2.

Anonymous said...

I saw her on TV going into court and she had that handkerchief permanently clamped to her face.Probably mentally ill by now but also putting it on for sympathy/hoping charges are dropped. For her it's either hospital treatment or they put her on trial.

Anonymous said...

She's being treated at home by psychiatrists.This case won't go away. At some point she will be in court.