Tuesday 26th February 2013. Perhaps not a good day for the country’s legal profession and police forces as the following round-up of stories show. Of course regardless of the high ideals that a profession may wish to uphold the fact that it is inhabited by people with all their various faults and weaknesses may always result in instances such as the ones below. Though perhaps the following cases do at least show that the legal system is hard at work.
QC Jailed for avoiding VAT
Rohan Pershad QC stopped paying tax in 1999. Last week he was found guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court of cheating the public revenue over a 12-year period totalling £600,000. Prosecutors said he had bought two properties in Somerset and Surrey for a total of £1.5m.
In sentencing, Judge Aidan Marron QC told Pershad: “It is clear to me and was clear during the trial that you decided to capitalise on that situation and in the ensuing 12 years you cheated the revenue of £600,000. You willingly and knowingly engaged in persistent and consistent dishonesty.”
“You have brought disgrace on yourself and have aggravated that position by fighting this case and lying in front of a jury. It saddens me that I have to deal with you. [Your are] a person of substance to date. It is sad that you, a successful and otherwise compassionate man, should have sunk to these particular levels.”
Barrister investigated in Pryce trial
Police are investigating Constance Briscoe, a barrister and part-time judge, for allegedly lying about helping to leak the Chris Huhne speeding points story, at the retrial of Ms Pryce. The court heard Ms Pryce, helped by Ms Briscoe, had told journalists about how she had taken the speeding points to get revenge on her ex-husband Huhne after he had left her in June 2010.
Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC read jurors a statement from Detective Inspector Martin Passmore explaining why Ms Briscoe would not be called on to give evidence:
“Ms Briscoe has provided statements to the police in this case, but during the investigation it became apparent that she may have lied about her involvement with the press and that she denied having any contact with the Mail on Sunday or any other media organisation in relation to this story.”
Chief Constable suspended for potential conduct matters
The temporary chief constable of Lincolnshire, Mr Rhodes, has been suspended from duty by the police and crime commissioner (PCC). PCC Alan Hardwick said Mr Rhodes had been suspended while investigations into “potential conduct matters” were being considered. Mr Hardwick said: “It would be inappropriate at this time for the police and crime commissioner to issue further statements or give interviews.” The matter has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
Police encouraged rape victims to withdraw allegations
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said Southwark Sapphire unit which deals with complaints of rape in south London “encouraged” victims to withdraw allegations to boost detection rates.
The report by the IPCC said: “There is no doubt from the evidence that the woman made an allegation of rape at Walworth police station which should have been believed and thoroughly investigated.”
The IPCC said the Southwark Sapphire squad’s approach of “failing to believe victims” was “wholly inappropriate”. It also said it was “under-performing and over-stretched”.
Chief Constable reprimanded for Hillsborough email
An email from David Crompton, South Yorkshire’s chief constable, about the Hillsborough families’ campaign has been strongly criticised by the IPCC. David Crompton said the families’ “version of certain events has become ‘the truth’ even though it isn’t”. The Independent Police Complaints Commission said the comments were “at best ill judged and at worst offensive and upsetting”.
Mr Crompton’s email to his senior staff read: “One thing is certain – the Hillsborough Campaign for Justice will be doing their version… in fact their version of certain events has become ‘the truth’ even though it isn’t!! I just have the feeling that the media ‘machine’ favours the families and not us, so we need to be a bit more innovative in our response to have a fighting chance otherwise we will just be roadkill.”
Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the writer and this article does not constitute legal advice.