The former Chief Executive of the Priory Federation of Academies was sacrificed as part of a “witch-hunt,” a jury has been told on Wednesday, January 20.
Richard Gilliland, 64, denies abusing his position 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 supressing a Criminal Records Bureau check, which revealed that Kia had twice been convicted of flashing and had served a prison sentence for the offence.
But Gilliland’s defence barrister, Mark Harries, told a jury at Lincoln Crown Court that prosecution case against his client had “manipulation, misrepresentation and deceit” running through it like a virus.
Addressing the jury in his closing speech, Harries said it led to the sacrifice of Gilliland who was an “educator, innovator and pioneer.”
“Witch-hunt is a strong word,” Harries said. “But I make no apology for using it.”
“The Crown’s evidence in this case put before you over the last 25 days is deeply flawed and dangerously selective.”
Harries told them the prosecution had decided to adopt the conclusions of a Department of Education report while ignoring any other contrary evidence.
He also warned the jury that Gilliland could not be criticised for some of the answers he gave while being interviewed by the police.
“On that long day in August 2011 he was asked to account for documents put in front of him there and then,” Harries added.
The prosecution’s claim that Gilliland acted out of greed was simply not credible, Harries told them. “It is rubbish, it is nonsense, and it is demonstrable when you look at the values we’re looking at.”
Harries said the total amount of expenses Gilliland was alleged to have fiddled amounted to just £11,264 over three years.
At its highest, Harries told the jury, the amount of unsuitable purchases Gilliland was alleged to have made on Amazon was just £7,321, or less than £210 per month.
“A pittance and probably about the same as it costs to fill the staff room biscuit barrel,” Mr Harries told them.
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.
The PFA’s former finance director Stephen Davies, 58, of Abingdon Avenue, Lincoln, also denies three charges of fraud by abuse of position.
Harries speech to the jury continues this afternoon. (Wed)
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:
- 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
- Federation chairman denies conspiracy to make Gilliland a scapegoat, fraud trial hears
- Lincoln trust sought legal advice after national paper investigated employment of boss’ son
- Ex-Lincoln academy boss in ‘terrible mental state’ prior to fraud probe, court hears
- “I was bullied into it”, says former Lincoln academies’ finance director in fraud trial
- ‘Not a jot of truth’ in fraud allegations, says ex-Lincoln academies boss in defence
- Fraud allegations are “incomprehensible”, says accused ex-Lincoln academies boss
- “I always put the children first,” claims ex-Lincoln academies boss accused of fraud
- Former Lincoln academies boss denies bullying as fraud trial continues
- Ex-Lincoln academies boss defends decision to employ son convicted of flashing
- “It’s total nonsense”, says ex-Lincoln academies boss accused of fraud
- Ex-Lincoln academies finance director had no accountancy qualifications, court hears
- Former Lincoln academies finance director claims fraud accusations are “nonsense”
- Fraud trial jury told former Lincoln academies boss’ credibility is at centre of case