No Evidence Offered in Benefit Fraud Trial
We represented a woman of good character accused of failing to notify the Department for Work and Pensions of a change in circumstances, and therefore of dishonestly continuing to claim carer's allowance after becoming employed.
Our client stated that she believed she had informed all her benefit providers of her employment by informing tax credit and filling out a change of circumstances form in relation to income support and housing benefit. She believed that there was a centralised system and her circumstances would be updated for all benefits. When she continued to received carer’s allowance, she believed she must still be entitled to it as she was still caring for her disabled son. She therefore accepted claiming carer’s allowance, but denied that she had done so dishonestly.
Our client was having to pay monthly contributions to her legal aid of over £2000. We assisted her in filling out a hardship form which resulted in these payments being reduced by over £1000. We then gathered character witnesses and requested that the Crown disclose evidence of the defendant informing her other benefit providers of her employment to support her instructions. After several weeks the prosecution disclosed this evidence to us. The prosecution later informed us they would offering no evidence in this matter, likely as a result of the disclosure we had requested.
A not guilty verdict has since been entered for our client and her legal aid contributions will be paid back to her.
Phoebe Coleman and Lorena Lowen prepared the case for trial, and Mr Leon Lynch from 25 Bedford Row was instructed Counsel.