England

Margaret Moran expenses trial: Ex-MP will not face jury

  • 27 April 2012
  • From the section England
Margaret Moran
Image caption Margaret Moran is accused of dishonestly making expenses claims totalling about £80,000

Former Luton South MP Margaret Moran, who is accused of fiddling her parliamentary expenses, will not face a jury, a judge has decided.

Mr Justice Saunders said Ms Moran, 56, would not have to appear in court, after psychiatrist Philip Joseph said she was not fit to stand trial.

Dr Joseph said the ex-Labour MP was suffering from a depressive illness and had extreme anxiety and agitation.

Ms Moran did not attend the hearing at Lewes Crown Court.

Ms Moran, of Ivy Road, St Denys, Southampton, Hampshire, was described as weeping inconsolably when she appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court last year on 15 charges of false accounting and six of using a false instrument relating to expense claims totalling about £80,000.

It is alleged that Ms Moran, who stood down at the last election, "flipped" her designated second home, making claims for properties in London, Luton and Southampton.

Other allegations include that she dishonestly claimed £22,500 to repair dry rot at her Southampton home.

She is also accused of falsely claiming £14,805 for boiler repairs and work on her conservatory.

Dr Joseph told Lewes Crown Court the stress of the proceedings and allegations she was facing made it impossible for her to participate in court proceedings.

He said she had tried to harm herself and there was a risk of suicide.

He added that she felt feelings of abandonment by the Labour Party and shame that her career was over.

Mr Justice Saunders said: "Dr Joseph has attempted to discuss the allegations with her and is satisfied that she is not able to give proper instructions.

"He recorded her as saying 'I just want to plead guilty and be punished', but his view and my judgement is that is unlikely to have been a response reached after a proper consideration of the allegations and is simply an attempt to get the matter over with and assuage feelings of guilt which may relate to other matters."

He added that both sides were in broad agreement and all the experts agreed that Ms Moran is unfit to plead.

The case was adjourned to Southwark Crown Court on 15 November for a three-day hearing for a jury to determine whether the defendant committed the acts alleged by the prosecution.

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