The former chairman of the Priory Federation of Academies Trust has denied he plotted to make the Trust’s former chief executive Richard Gilliland the “scapegoat” for failings revealed by an investigation.
Terry Coffey admitted on Tuesday the Federation (PFA) had got itself “in a muddle” and that some matters had not been dealt with as they ought to have been.
Under cross-examination from Mark Harries, representing Gilliland, the former chairman was asked: “There was a party line adopted favouring Gilliland’s resignation. That was encouraged by the Department for Education. Essentially that he would be the scapegoat?”
Coffey replied “No”. He said he refuted any suggestion that there was any plan for Gilliland to be forced to quit.
The former chairman of the Trust also denied that he conspired with another employee, Ann Turner, to falsely suggest neither of them knew of the details of a CRB check carried out on Gilliland’s son Kia Richardson before he was employed as yard manager at the Federation’s.
The jury has heard that Kia Richardson was employed despite having previously served a jail sentence for an offence of outraging public decency and it is alleged that the results of his CRB check were concealed by Gilliland.
Richardson subsequently resigned after the News of the World newspaper began making inquiries about his appointment.
Coffey told the jury “We were about to be laid open in the News of the World and we were in panic mode about what was going to be revealed.”
The story was never published as the newspaper ceased publishing within days of the reporter making a Freedom of Information request to the Federation.
Richard Gilliland, 64, who now lives in Spain, denies six charges of fraud by abuse of position on dates between October 2008 and November 2011.
The PFA’s former finance director Stephen Davies,58, of Abingdon Avenue, Lincoln, denies three charges of fraud by abuse of position.
The trial continues.
Follow the progress of the trial so far:
- Ex-Lincoln academy boss employed son who failed CRB check, fraud trial hears
- Lincoln academy paid £2,480 bill for CEO’s son to attend training course, court hears
- Fraud trial: Lincoln academy’s financial management described as “chaotic”
- ‘Forceful’ ex-Lincoln academy boss rarely backed up expenses with receipts, court hears
- Boss’ son who failed CRB check not interviewed for job at Lincoln academy, trial hears
- Lincoln academy invoice was tampered with, court hears from employee
- Employee tells jury ex-Lincoln federation boss was “drained” by problems with son
- Ex-Lincoln academy boss’ son left trust in “turmoil”, jury told
- Solicitor ‘had no knowledge’ of ex-Lincoln academy CEO’s employment conditions, jury hears
- Ex-Lincoln academy boss provided alternative curriculum for disruptive pupils
- Gilliland fraud trial: No overtime payments were authorised to son
- Ex-Lincoln academy boss considered retirement before he resigned, court hears
- Ex-Lincoln academies boss described as ‘admirable’ as fraud trial resumes
Due to the judge’s ruling on Friday, November 13, any comments on the ongoing trial on The Lincolnite will be removed.