Success for Andrew Thomas QC & Andrew Nuttall in substantial SFO prosecution

After a five-month trial, Andrew Thomas QC and Andrew Nuttall have been successful in the defence of a former company director prosecuted by the SFO for conspiracy to commit fraud. He was the only defendant to be acquitted. Six others were convicted and will be sentenced at a later date.

The prosecution related to an alleged fraud involving a company supplying and installing solar panels. The SFO’s case was that sales were secured by the fraudulent use of a ‘cashback’ marketing promotion promising to repay customers the full purchase price.

The client had been responsible for the installations side of the business. Although the ‘cashback’ promotion had failed, the evidence at trial showed that the customers had in fact received the solar panels which they ordered and almost without exception stood to make a profit from the payments for electricity which they fed back the grid. Allegations that the solar panels were sub-standard were abandoned mid-trial when the prosecution’s expert conceded that they were good quality.

The jury accepted the client’s case that he had not been involved in the marketing promotion other than to advise his co-defendants against becoming involved in the scheme. The client gave evidence over four days, but despite rigorous challenge the defence team were able to show that his case was supported both by the documentary evidence and by key witnesses.

The instructing solicitors were Rachel Adamson and Lucy Cohen of Slater & Gordon. The case involved over 100,000 pages of served exhibits and was conducted under the IFFO VHCCscheme.