NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Fraud case against Satnam Kaur at Aberdeen RBS dropped due to paperwork

Aberdeen Sheriff Court [Pic: Crown Copyright]
Image caption The court heard that the case would no longer go ahead

The case against a worker accused of stealing more than £175,000 from customers at an Aberdeen bank has collapsed after a Crown paperwork mistake.

Satnam Kaur, 30, was due to go on trial over the allegations centred on the Royal Bank of Scotland in Albyn Place.

A sheriff at Aberdeen Sheriff Court ruled that paperwork was incompetent.

The words "by authority of Her Majesty's Advocate" were missing from the indictment against Miss Kaur.

This meant the indictment was incompetent because the document failed to show that the case had been officially authorised by Scotland's top legal officer.

Miss Kaur, from Aberdeen, was alleged to have taken cash from two accounts while working as a customer advisor for the Royal Bank of Scotland.

It was claimed she withdrew money as euros and deposited a £120,000 cheque into her own account.

Sacked from job

She was sacked from her job at the Albyn Place RBS branch in Aberdeen after the allegations came to light.

Depute fiscal Elaine Ward told the court that the Crown initially believed that Miss Kaur was going to plead guilty and so had not fully prepared for trial.

Legal staff began working on the case after the bank worker appeared in court and denied the three offences earlier this year.

Mrs Ward said: "The legal member of staff with regards to the third charge on the indictment consulted with one of the specialist departments of the Crown Office and, given the drafting and redrafting of the charges which was taking place, the charges were drafted within a Word document.

"The Word document was forwarded to a member of the administrative staff in Aberdeen and the indictment was then printed and passed to a legal member of staff for signing."

Mrs Ward said the employee had signed the document assuming that the document had been produced in the normal way.

She said the system normally used to draft indictments automatically added the words "By authority of Her Majesty's Advocate" on legal paperwork.

However, in this case the indictment was written out in software not usually used to draft charges.

Prosecutors are legally bound to bring a criminal case against a person accused of an offence on indictment to court within 12 months.

The time bar in the case against Miss Kaur ran out on Friday at the end of this week.

Mrs Ward called on the sheriff to extend the time bar so the Crown Office would have additional time to prepare a new indictment to serve on the accused.

'Lack of focus'

But Sheriff Graeme Buchanan refused the motion, stating that the Crown had shown a "lack of focus and direction" by way of preparing the case for trial.

The case against Miss Kaur will no longer go ahead.

She was accused of stealing £144,626.06 from the bank account of Robert Brown on several occasions between June 2011 and March last year.

She was claimed to have used her own unique bank log-in details to withdraw cash from his account, some of which was taken out in euros under the reference of "travel services".

Miss Kaur, of Aberdeen, was also said to have taken £30,400 from the account of bank customer Robert Mann between the same dates.

The court heard the customers suffered no financial loss as a result of the alleged incidents.

Following the case, her lawyer Peter Keane said: "This has been a long battle starting in March 2011.

"She was sacked in April of 2011 and has not been able to work or get benefits since or return home.

"It has taken its toll on her and she has been on anti-depressants. Her plans are now to return to India and I don't think she will be back.

"She is happy that no customer of the bank lost any money."

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