Delays halt councillor’s £240k fraud trial

Court snatch: Pontefract magistrates court. Hemsworth town councillor Mr John Richardson, appearing before the court on a number of charges relating to counterfeit goods.'h7096a148

Court snatch: Pontefract magistrates court. Hemsworth town councillor Mr John Richardson, appearing before the court on a number of charges relating to counterfeit goods.'h7096a148

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THE CROWN Prosecution Service has been charged more than £1,200 in court costs after delays halted the progression of the trial of a Hemsworth town councillor.

John Richardson, 70, of Newall Crescent, Fitzwilliam, is accused of swindling the tax system out of almost a quarter of a million pounds.

He appeared before Wakefield Magistrates’ Court again on Monday, expecting his case to be committed to Leeds Crown Court for trial.

But District Judge Richard Clews was again forced to adjourn proceedings as the case was not ready to go forward.

Richardson will appear again at the court on Wednesday, March 21.

He faces ten charges relating to fraudulent evasion of duty and trademark offences in relation to duty-free and fake cigarettes and duty-free alcohol.

The prosecution service was ordered to pay £1,277 in costs to Richardson’s solicitors following adjournments in November, January and February.

Richardson, who appeared in court wearing black trousers, a white shirt and black leather jacket, was given unconditional bail.

The prosecution alleges that Richardson’s illegal operation was run from his bookmaker’s business, Richardson Racing, on Wakefield Road, Fitzwilliam.

The charges include the possession or use of criminal property, namely £127,880; Concealing, transferring or removing criminal property, namely £67,000 by buying a house on Central Avenue, Wakefield; Concealing, transferring or removing criminal property, namely £40,000 by buying a house on Chantry Croft, Kinsley; Possession or use of criminal property, namely £5,855; Fraud by failing to disclose information to Revenue and Customs about income from rental properties; Possession of Lambert and Butler cigarettes bearing a false trademark; Possession of Superkings cigarettes bearing a false trademark; Fraudulent evasion of duty on 11 litres of spirits; and fraudulent evasion of duty on 6,120 cigarettes and fraudulent evasion of duty on 15.4kg of tobacco.