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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71147
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Is it likely that the CPS in England would prosecute a "Theft

Customer Question

Is it likely that the CPS in England would prosecute a "Theft Breach of Trust" committed in 1994 if compelling evidence existed such as the accused admitting it while being digitally recorded. Other important documentary evidence from the public record and victims statement also exist.

Barrister opinion preferred
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

-Could you explain your situation a little more?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I have discovered that a male relative has defrauded three people (two from outside the family) during the time when he was an executor. One example is when he should have paid the residual beneficiary over £130,000.00 but he only paid out about £30,000.00. The probate statement and the will are not ambiguous - the will provides fixed amount gifts to a few charities, with the residue to the testator's relative. The amount due to that residual beneficiary is over £131,000.00. The person only received just over £30,000.00 in transferred savings certificates and shares (no money). The person had no idea how much their relative had left until recently when I discovered the fraud. I have always got on well with my relative, the executor, but my greatest duty is to the beneficiary who has been denied any statement of estate accounts and who was defrauded of over £100,000.00. I asked my relative how much did he pay out to the residual beneficiary (I digitally recorded him). He said that he gave the person £30,000.00. After a lot of investigation, the paperwork shows that this figure was the amount paid out. A similar fraud was also discovered with another will where my relative was executor. A third case was found where a similar, but not identical, fraud is evident. The evidence for all cases is compelling. My relative seems quite contemptuous and clearly he feels that he is beyond the law. I am horrified. I have heard that "Theft Breach of Trust" is not time barred but I wanted a legal opinion. The facts will be reported anyhow.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
You want to report this I presume?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Of course. I have completed a detailed report and I have reached the stage when I can report it together with handing over a detailed report with associated documentation etc. From a family point of view this is horrendous, but I have a greater duty to the truth, the law and those who have been defrauded, than to my relative (with whom I have always got on well with)

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

There is no reason they could not prosecute this. This is either a theft or a fraud neither of which are summary only offences so they have no time deadlines.

However, it is fair to say that there are some offences that they are more reluctant to prosecute stale than others. Conventionally they do not prosecute old thefts.

That said, there is no really justification for it. Of they can prosecute all and sundry for making passes at people in 1962 then there is no reason that they should not prosecute this.

You may have to complain to be given the same priority as a stale sexual offence with no chance of success but overall if you did I think you would probably win

Can I clarify anything for you?