Wed, 24 Aug 2011
Prosecutors have decided to drop their case against a former communications officer who was alleged to have defrauded West Midlands Police out of thousands of pounds.
A judge at Warwick Crown Court was also told it had been decided not to continue with the prosecution of a Nuneaton man who it was alleged had become involved in a similar fraud.
Adam Warwick, the former communications officer with the West Midlands Casualty Reduction Partnership, and Gary Willn (42) of Mossdale Crescent, Nuneaton, had both denied separate charges of conspiracy to defraud West Midlands Police in 2006.
Warwick stood trial earlier this month with the West Midlands Police’s former recruitment marketing manager David Vidgen, who faced a similar charge.
Vidgen (36) of Over Brunton Close, Birmingham, was found guilty of conspiring with Midlands businessman Richard Millard (42) of Grange Lane, Sutton Coldfield and his case was adjourned for him to be sentenced with Millard at a later date.
But after deliberating for more than 10 hours, the jury was unable to reach a verdict on Warwick (35) of Wishing Stone Way, Matlock, Derbyshire, and his case was adjourned for the prosecution to consider whether to ask for a retrial.
With them in the dock on the first day of the trial were Willn and Pc Manjit Singh Marva (39) of Pipers Green, Hall Green, Birmingham.
But Marva, who had worked in the West Midlands force’s employee resourcing department, then pleaded guilty to a charge of dishonestly retaining a wrongful credit which had been paid into an account with which he was connected in September 2006.
Because Willn’s only link to Vidgen was said to have been through Marva, it was decided by Judge Trevor Faber that he should stand trial alone, rather than with Vidgen and Warwick.
It had been alleged that Vidgen had been involved in paying £8,000 into Willn’s bank account, and that Willn had then forwarded the money on to Marva.
But he said that at the time he trusted both men and had no reason to believe they were acting dishonestly.
After considering the cases against Warwick and Willn since the end of the trial, prosecutor Mark Heywood told the judge: “Discussions have taken place over the last few days, and we do not intend to press the indictment any further against these two defendants.
“Mr Warwick will not face a retrial. There may also be a charge of misconduct in public office against him, and he can have a (not guilty) verdict on that as well.”
So Judge Faber formally entered not guilty verdicts in respect of both men and, at the request of their barristers, made defendant’s costs orders to cover their travelling costs during the case, which had been dragging on for two years.
During Vidgen and Warwick’s trial, Mr Heywood alleged they had both taken advantage of weaknesses in West Midlands Police’s financial system to approve payments of false invoices submitted by PortMedia UK Ltd, a company set up by Millard which carried out work for the CRP and the recruitment department.
Payments were made by Millard or PortMedia to the two men, with Vidgen receiving £3,000 and a company he had set up, David Vidgen Ltd, being paid £7,199 while Warwick had £2,063 paid into his account and £5,000 into his parents’ account.
But Warwick denied that the payments he received were ‘backhanders’ from Millard for any illegal activity.
He said he carried out consultancy work for Millard to provide information which would help him present targeted tenders for work with other CRPs including West Mercia, and he insisted: “There was nothing wrong in what I was doing.”