North West Wales

Llandudno magistrate made £10k in fraudulent claims

Llandudno Magistrates' Court Image copyright Kenneth Allen/JGeograph
Image caption David Rees started sitting at Llandudno Magistrates' Court in 1995

A Conwy magistrate who fraudulently claimed £10,000 in lost wages for time he spent in court has been ordered to repay the money.

David Rees took paid leave from his Conwy council job while sitting at Llandudno Magistrates' Court - but kept money paid out for lost salary.

Rees, 65, of Llandudno, was convicted of six counts of fraud.

On Thursday, he was given a 16-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, at Warrington Crown Court.

Richard Riley, of Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service, said Rees's reputation was "now in tatters".

The court heard Rees - a superintendent registrar who had sat as a magistrate since 1995 - claimed a financial loss allowance (FLA) for time he spent in court.

'Himself to blame'

On his claim form he wrote: "I am paid by my employer whilst sitting in court but am required to claim as close to this as possible and pass refund to them."

In a later claim he said: "Whilst sitting in court I am paid by my employers but pay back the amount claimed as FLA when applicable."

But when the claims were investigated, the court service found a discrepancy between the amount claimed by Rees and the sums paid back to the council, with thousands "unaccounted for".

The total shortfall was £9,839, but in an annual declaration, Rees said all of it was due to be paid back to the council.

His 16-month sentence was suspended for two years after the court heard he was a carer for his mother, who is blind and in poor health.

He must also complete 280 hours' unpaid work and pay £3,000 in prosecution costs.

Senior crown prosecutor, Mr Riley said: "A formerly public-spirited man who volunteered to help with the justice system has now been given a suspended jail term himself and he has only himself to blame."

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