Fraud trial jury told former Lincoln academies boss’ credibility is at centre of case

The jury in the fraud trial of the former chief executive and finance director of the Priory Federation of Academies was on Thursday, January 14 told that the credibility of the two defendants is at the heart of the case.

Prosecuting barrister David Allan, in his closing speech to the jury at Lincoln Crown Court that Richard Gilliland and his co-accused Stephen Davies gave conflicting versions of events in their evidence.

Allan added: “The fact is that both have been successful men. It does not mean that you should approach this case any differently because it is the chief executive being accused of these offences rather than the office boy.

“It may be said that Mr Gilliland was receiving over a quarter of a million pounds a year and why would he take this risk.

“It is sometimes said in relation to some people that the more money they have, the more money they want. Perhaps that is an insight into Mr Gilliland’s mind-set.

“He is someone who had been lionised and lauded by everyone around him. Perhaps he was a man who cared about education but also cared about money.”

During the two-month-long trial the jury has been told that Gilliland abused his position of chief executive by using federation credit cards to buy thousands of pounds worth of personal items.

He is also alleged to have arranged for his son Kia Richardson to work for the federation after suppressing a Criminal Records Bureau check, which revealed that Kia had twice been convicted of flashing and had served a prison sentence for the offence.

In addition, Gilliland is alleged to have fraudulently arranged for the federation to pay for training courses for Kia Richardson and for him to be paid money he was not entitled to.

Davies is alleged to have been Gilliland’s right hand man and to have abused his position by approving some of the payments.

The jury has heard that Gilliland later repaid money to the federation but Mr Allan suggested to the jury this was because he realised “the writing was on the wall”.

Mr Allan said that Davies’ defence that the decisions made were “good business sense” was implausible.

He said: “The credibility of the defendants is really at the centre of this case.”

Richard Gilliland, 64, who now lives in Spain, denies seven charges of fraud by abuse of position on dates between October 2008 and November 2011.

Stephen Davies, 58, of Abingdon Avenue, Lincoln, denies three charges of fraud by abuse of position.

The trial continues on Monday.

Due to the judge’s ruling on Friday, November 13, 2015, any comments on the ongoing trial on The Lincolnite will be removed.


Follow the progress of the trial so far: