blackpool businessman cleared of alleged fraud conspiracy

The defendant was the director of a company selling advertising to members of the public wanting to sell vehicles. It was claimed that the company deceived customers by passing themselves off as another well known online company.

The business was raided in December 2008 and again in February 2009 by Trading Standards and Police and a vast amount of material including files and computers was taken away for analysis.

The prosecution started in December 2009 and the case finally appeared for trial at Preston Crown Court in March 2011. The company director along with many of his sales staff faced allegations of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation and conspiracy to engage in an unfair commercial practice.

The trial was scheduled to last 6 weeks but collapsed when the defence successfully argued that Blackpool Trading Standards had failed to investigate the case properly.

The prosecution put the case on the basis that many customer had been deceived, by either “misleading acts or omissions”, However Trading Standards had thousands audio recordings of all of the telephone calls made to customers, which had been seized during a search, but had simply failed to listen to the vast majority of them.

Legal arguments took place over several days and an application was made to stay the indictment. This application was ultimately not opposed by the prosecution and resulted in all of the defendants being cleared of all offences.

The defendant was represented by Jonathan Wall of Burton Copeland.

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