A FORMER MP who tried to sue the Olive Press claimed €75,000 of fraudulent expenses, a court has heard.
In a case described by the judge as ‘highly unusual’, Margaret Moran was not present in court after being deemed not fit to stand trial due to depression.
The former Labour MP faces 21 charges, including 15 of false accounting and six of using false instruments such as forged invoices.
The 57-year-old allegedly forged invoices for goods which didn’t exist, including a boiler and central heating system for a kitchen that was never installed.
Some of the claims relate to allegations that she ‘flipped’ her address in order to claim expenses she was not entitled to.
Others relate to non-existent utility bills, building work that was never carried out and claiming expenses for personalised Christmas and birthday cards.
Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, said that Moran claimed more than €75,000 in taxpayer-funded expenses ‘which enabled her to receive over €66,000 to which she was not entitled’, during the hearing at Southwark Crown Court.
The former Luton South MP, who stood down at the 2010 election, had previously failed in a bid to sue the Olive Press after we revealed she had used official House of Commons notepaper to order neighbours off her estate near Orgiva.
She is only fit to push a pram.
John, was that supposed to be funny?
she can’t face trial because she’s depressed – that’s a reason to not face justice – anyone would be depressed when they have been caught bang to rights.
Don’t forget the greedy lawyers who won’t make a penny now – let’s organise a whip round for those poor souls.
Easy enough to get back all she fraudulently obtained by deception – confiscate all her properties in Spain and the UK and literally kick her out into the street and give her a cardboard box to sleep in, no social security – let her beg, I’m sure some fools will toss a few coins her way.
This is what should have occurred with all the greedy political scum who ripped off (and still do) the taxpayer.
Tony the Liar said “we don’t want to see a culture of blame” – oh yes we do Tony and real retribution – conditional therapy works fine but not good for lawyers.
And in the background, somewhere, is a solicitor, counting his fee. How much did it cost the Olive Press to defend their action ? How much did OP get in compensation ? I think we all know the answers. A lot. Nothing. How much did the lawyers get ? We know the answer to that one as well.
The following is not because the person concerned, Margaret Moran, is a former MP. It is in defence of a certain principle – whether one should stand trial if temporarily incapacitated because of mental illness.
Mental illness is never going to be a fashionable cause but nevertheless it is there. One in four British adults experience at least one diagnosable mental health problem in any one year. If any of you have ever been there, you may be sympathetic.
There are a number of safeguards that prevent someone from taking advantage of the legal system. It is certainly not enough to say “I am not fit to stand trial”. Whether that person an ex-MP has nothing to do with it, neither has the crime with which the person has been accused. However, I think this article is precisely because of those two factors.
There is likely to be nobody on here who has even met Margaret Moran, let alone be in a position to cast judgement on her ability to stand trial. I haven´t met her, and am not qualified to comment one way or another.
Like any other health records in the UK, mental health records, are confidential, and rightly so. Nobody, apart from involved mental health professionals, are in a position to cast judgement on her degree of sanity or otherwise. And that includes any course of treatment that she may be undertaking.
As I said above, this has absolutely nothing to do with this person´s former career. It is a defence of certain principles, no more, no less. The article probably has another basis, of course.
Tony Bishop – I absolutely agree. You say “It is in defence of a certain principle – whether one should stand trial if temporarily incapacitated because of mental illness.” The trial should have been adjourned until she was well again. And then the full force of the law should have been brought to bear.
I tend to agree with you, PM, except that you are suggesting that it is possible to adjourn a trial for an indefinite period of time.
After all, it could be several years (if ever) before a person is deemed fit to stand trial. That, I suspect, is a non-starter in English law. In any case, having a court case hanging over you could be interpreted as a contributory factor to your mental illness.
FYI it cost the Olive Press £250 to get an immediate reply letter to her solicitors and then another £500 in further fees to contest the case.
On top of that we had to send a journalist to track down the note and various other proof over two days, costing around £300, so ultimately around £1000 which yes, you are right, we have never got back.
On top of that was the stress for me, the publisher, in fearing we could be closed down if a lawsuit like that against us was successful.
Legal firms like Carter and Ruck stifle freedom of speech and bully publications into often leaving certain stories alone as they will cost too much to report on.
It is the tragedy of journalism today. Investigative journalism is almost too expensive to follow, leaving basic showbiz/celebrity journalism as the only easy to publishing model…. and now we are about to be targetted with yet more laws in the UK if the Levesen Inquiry has its way.
Might as well pack the bags and put up a gravestone to the Fourth Estate. An epitaph: ‘Journalism once kept check on the rich, powerful and politicians of this earth, until they bought it out!’
What a horrible woman! She should be utterly ashamed.
Good on the OP for bringing her behaviour to public attention.
“Legal firms like Carter and Ruck stifle freedom of speech and bully publications into often leaving certain stories alone as they will cost too much to report on.” This is what has happened with another well known case in a nearby country !
“and now we are about to be targetted with yet more laws in the UK if the Levesen Inquiry has its way.”
So Jon, you don’t think the behaviour of the UK press was disgraceful in the case of what Levesen investigated then? Was it quality journalism bugging the phone of Milly Dowler? We need investigative journalism, but we also need to keep an eye on the investigators, too.
Anna, although you rightly thank the OP for carrying this story, it was not the only newspaper to report on this. The Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, the Independent and The Times all carried this story.
Wikipedia also includes this story in its entry for Margaret Moran.