Alex Watts :
Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
Alex Watts :
Could you please explain the situation a little more including what type of matter the current proceedings relate to?
I was in court on a civil matter that I have discussed with you in the last week, my husband was a co-defendant and when being cross examined the opposing barrister brought up a conviction from 1992 which according to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1996 was spent in 1996 and it is against the act to use it in court. my question is what are our remedies?
Alex Watts :
Yes. Remind me what was the case about and what was the conviction for?
My neighbours house was not built according to the plans passed by the local authority accordingly in error the gas and electricity meters were placed where they were only accessible from our drive, and as a consequence our neighbour claimed that our drive was a shared drive. Our solicitor appointed by our insurance company confirmed that this was not true and also confirmed that if we didn't challenge the claim after a few years the neighbour would acquire a right. The court found in favour of the claimant and provided an injunction allowing them to access our property 24/7 for meter access because of an easement allowing access for maintenance and decoration of the property transferred. We maintained that since the meters are not owned by the claimant nor were they owned by the builder they were not part of the property transferred.
Alex Watts : What was the previous conviction for?
It was during the hearing of this case that a conviction for false accounting against my husband due to problems arising with VAT when his business was failing. This conviction was brought up in court and called VAT fraud.
Alex Watts : And used how, saying he was lying?
Yes and used it as character assassination.
Alex Watts : But it is correct it was a dishonesty offence, false accounting ?
But the law is specific after 2 years it cannot be used in court, this law was violated so what is the remedy?
Alex Watts : But is it correct it was for a dishonesty offence ?
He was convicted but still maintains that it was a mistake due to the business collapse pressure. The question I'm asking is since it is not allowed to be used in court after 2 years and yet it was, what is our remedy?
Alex Watts : Was the Conviction contained within the bundle?
Alex Watts : Ok. How was it brought up?
Alex Watts : under cross?
In cross examination the barrister asked the question, was he convicted of Vat fraud to which my husband said yes.
Alex Watts : So why did he say yes if it was false accounting?
He is 80 years old and was being harassed by an aggressive barrister?
Alex Watts : In criminal cases you have to make an application to court to adduce previous convictions. It makes no difference whether they are 2 months, 2 years or 20 years old.
Alex Watts : In civil cases you do not need to make an application.
Alex Watts : you can ask the question. The judge can intervene if they think it is an inappropriate question
Alex Watts : civil any and all conditions are used. It is quite common.
Alex Watts : If the other side are trying to undermine credibility and there has been a historic offence, then they can ask about it. It makes no difference how old that conviction is.
Alex Watts : The judge may or may not place any weight on this.
Alex Watts : But sadly they can use it.
Alex Watts : I am sorry if this is not the answer you want and certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest
Alex Watts : Can I clarify anything for you about this today please