Expenses peer Taylor convicted, but will he be jailed?

26 January 2011 by

Ex-Tory peer Lord Taylor of Warwick has become the first parliamentarian to be found guilty by a jury of making false parliamentary expenses claims. He now faces sentencing. Given the recent case of former MP David Chaytor, it seems unlikely that he will escape jail.

A jury at Southwark Crown Court found Taylor guilty of six counts of false accounting under section 17 of the Theft Act 1968, by a majority of 11 to 1. The expense at issue totalled £11,277. Mr Justice Saunders, who also sentenced Chaytor, presided over the trial.

Taylor will be sentenced at a later date, and although the outcome is difficult to predict, it is useful to consider the recent case of former-MP David Chaytor, who was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment by the same judge after pleading guilty to 3 charges of false accounting in relation to his Parliamentary expenses.

Unlike Taylor, whose case went to trial, Chaytor pleaded guilty to the charges relating to £22,660 claimed and £18,350 received.

In his sentencing remarks, Mr Justice Saunders said that Chaytor could not attract sympathy for having limited means, an argument Taylor also used during his trial, as such offences are difficult to detect and amounted to a serious breach of public trust of parliamentarians:

MPs are trusted by Parliament to make honest claims and the rules make that abundantly clear. The foreword by the Speaker to the Green Book which sets out the Rules says that ‘Members are responsible for ensuring that their use of allowances is beyond reproach’. It is right that MPs should be trusted. They hold an important position in our constitution. These false claims were made in my judgment in breach of a high degree of trust placed in MPs to only make legitimate claims.

Moreover, the public are “entitled to expect that people who legislate for the public will themselves be honest in their dealings with the State and in particular with their use of public funds which are paid for out of taxation“.

Although Taylor’s false accounting related to less money in total than Chaytor’s, it will be a relevant factor that Taylor maintained that he was innocent. As such, no discount on sentence will be available for an early guilty plea. Chaytor received a 25% discount.

In Chaytor’s case, Mr Justice Saunders considered the Sentencing Guidelines Council guidance, and used as a starting point the punishment suggested for offences of confidence fraud involving sums under £20,000 which is 18 months imprisonment. This guideline may also be relevant to Taylor. The judge accepted that was “increased significantly” due to the aggravating factors of breach of trust involved in the offences and the effect they have on the public’s confidence in the legislature.

Mr Justice Saunders also took into account Chaytor’s good character and the fact that he had “devoted a considerable period of his life to public service and he has been a considerable force for good“, and that he had repaid all the money he had received from the false claims.

Despite his formerly good character, Chaytor has been jailed for 1 1/2 years. Given that Taylor’s case has similar features, notably the breach of public trust element, it seems unlikely that he will escape a similar fate.

Sign up to free human rights updates by email, Facebook, Twitter or RSS

Read more

1 comment;


  1. S. Legree says:

    More sleaze & corruption…
    Deport them!

Comments are closed.

Welcome to the UKHRB


This blog is run by 1 Crown Office Row barristers' chambers. Subscribe for free updates here. The blog's editorial team is:
Commissioning Editor: Jonathan Metzer
Editorial Team: Rosalind English
Angus McCullough QC David Hart QC
Martin Downs
Jim Duffy

Free email updates


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog for free and receive weekly notifications of new posts by email.

Subscribe

Categories


Tags


Aarhus Abortion Abu Qatada Abuse Access to justice adoption AI air pollution air travel ALBA Allergy Al Qaeda Amnesty International animal rights Animals anonymity Article 1 Protocol 1 Article 2 article 3 Article 4 article 5 Article 6 Article 8 Article 9 article 10 Article 11 article 13 Article 14 article 263 TFEU Artificial Intelligence Asbestos Assange assisted suicide asylum asylum seekers Australia autism badgers benefits Bill of Rights biotechnology blogging Bloody Sunday brexit Bribery British Waterways Board care homes Catholic Church Catholicism Chagos Islanders Charter of Fundamental Rights child protection Children children's rights China christianity citizenship civil liberties campaigners civil partnerships climate change clinical negligence closed material procedure Coercion Commission on a Bill of Rights common law communications competition confidentiality consent conservation constitution contact order contact tracing contempt of court Control orders Copyright coronavirus coronavirus act 2020 costs costs budgets Court of Protection covid crime criminal law Cybersecurity Damages data protection death penalty defamation DEFRA deportation deprivation of liberty derogations Detention Dignitas diplomacy disability disclosure Discrimination disease divorce DNA domestic violence duty of care ECHR ECtHR Education election Employment Environment Equality Act Equality Act 2010 Ethiopia EU EU Charter of Fundamental Rights EU costs EU law European Convention on Human Rights European Court of Human Rights European Court of Justice evidence extradition extraordinary rendition Facebook Facial Recognition Family Fatal Accidents Fertility FGM Finance foreign criminals foreign office foreign policy France freedom of assembly Freedom of Expression freedom of information freedom of speech Gay marriage gay rights Gaza Gender genetics Germany Google Grenfell Gun Control Health HIV home office Housing HRLA human rights Human Rights Act human rights news Human Rights Watch Huntington's Disease immigration India Indonesia injunction Inquests insurance international law internet inuit Iran Iraq Ireland islam Israel Italy IVF ivory ban Japan joint enterprise judaism judicial review Judicial Review reform Julian Assange jury trial JUSTICE Justice and Security Bill Law Pod UK legal aid legal aid cuts Leveson Inquiry lgbtq liability Libel Liberty Libya lisbon treaty Lithuania local authorities marriage Media and Censorship mental capacity Mental Capacity Act Mental Health military Ministry of Justice modern slavery morocco murder music Muslim nationality national security naturism neuroscience NHS Northern Ireland nuclear challenges nuisance Obituary ouster clauses parental rights parliamentary expenses scandal patents Pensions Personal Injury physician assisted death Piracy Plagiarism planning planning system Poland Police Politics Pope press prison Prisoners prisoner votes Prisons privacy procurement Professional Discipline Property proportionality prosecutions Protection of Freedoms Bill Protest Public/Private public access public authorities public inquiries quarantine Radicalisation rehabilitation Reith Lectures Religion RightsInfo right to die right to family life Right to Privacy right to swim riots Roma Romania round-up Round Up Royals Russia saudi arabia Scotland secrecy secret justice Secret trials sexual offence shamima begum Sikhism Smoking social media social workers South Africa Spain special advocates Sports Standing starvation statelessness stem cells stop and search Strasbourg super injunctions Supreme Court Supreme Court of Canada surrogacy surveillance sweatshops Syria Tax technology Terrorism tort Torture travel treason treaty accession trial by jury TTIP Turkey Twitter UK Ukraine universal credit universal jurisdiction unlawful detention USA US Supreme Court vicarious liability Wales War Crimes Wars Welfare Western Sahara Whistleblowing Wikileaks wildlife wind farms WomenInLaw Worboys wrongful birth YearInReview Zimbabwe

Disclaimer


This blog is maintained for information purposes only. It is not intended to be a source of legal advice and must not be relied upon as such. Blog posts reflect the views and opinions of their individual authors, not of chambers as a whole.

Our privacy policy can be found on our ‘subscribe’ page or by clicking here.

%d bloggers like this: