Benefit Fraud Prosecution
Nottingham Solicitor Nick Walsh represented his client for a benefit fraud alleged to be in excess of £27 000. During a four year period it was said that she claimed as a single parent while in reality she was living with her husband. The prosecution, on behalf of Gedling Borough Council and the Department of Work and Pensions, alleged the claim was fraudulent from the outset. This meant that a conviction for an offence of this value would mean that the starting point that the court would consider for sentence would be 36 weeks immediate custody. The appropriate guideline can be found here.
Thorough preparation by Nick meant that the evidential issues were properly identified. Although his client was guilty of the offences, Nick was able to provide evidence to the prosecution that showed that the period during which his client and her husband were living together was much shorter.
This evidence was accepted by the prosecution and the client was sentenced on the basis of an over claim of £2000 rather than the original £27 000. This made a significant difference to sentence. This value in combination with Nick’s sensitive mitigation meant that the the Magistrates’ were able to depart from the guideline further and simply impose a fine rather than a low level community order.
The client had the benefit of legal aid to permit preparation and representation before the court that was free of charge to her,