Thursday, February 10, 2011

Former Labour MP Jim Devine found guilty of expenses fraud, he had it all and threw it all away because of his stupidity; prison is on the cards

Dear All

Former Labour MP Jim Devine has been found guilty of fiddling his expenses.

What surprised me was the way he decided to use the ‘I’m guilty but innocent’ defence.

It doesn’t work.

He has found guilty by a jury at Southwark Crown Court of two charges of false accounting.

Southwark Crown Court is doing a roaring trade in sending Labour MPs to prison.

They are currently batting 3 for 3.

David Chaytor, Eric Illsley and now Jim Devine.

Eric Morley is next up.

And the signs don’t look good for him.

Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, said the case against Devine was "very straightforward".

Which begs the question, why he didn’t plead guilty and get a reduced sentence?

He must have known he was cooked!

The jury of six men and six women took two hours and 45 minutes to agree with the prosecution that on the two counts Devine showed a "woeful inadequacy" in abiding by the core principles expected of MPs.

A bit long in my opinion, it was an open and shut case.

The prosecutor said a guide known as the Green Book was readily available to MPs and clearly set out the rules and regulations on submitting expenses that must relate to parliamentary duties. It lists the fundamental principles MPs should adhere to when making expenses claims.

Devine’s problem like other MPs is that they saw expenses as a second unofficial salary.

Jim Devine was granted unconditional bail by Mr Justice Saunders, the trial judge, and he will be sentenced in due course.

And prison is a serious possibility, he maybe going to the same Club Fed as David Chaytor allowing them if they so wish to carry on their debating skills.

But a few classes on ethics wouldn’t go a miss either.

Labour MP Jim Devine is another example of a person who had it all but threw it all away.

In some respects this is all rather sad.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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