Former Labour MP Jim Devine guilty of expenses fraud

26
1462

Former Scottish Labour MP Jim Devine has been found guilty of two charges of false accounting.

The ex-MP for Livingston submitted false invoices totalling £8,385 for cleaning and printing work, some of which was never done.

Devine, who replaced the late Robin Cook in the Livingston constituency, was found guilty by a jury at Southwark Crown Court and will be sentenced in four weeks.  The jury of 12, made up of six men and six women, took less than three hours to find the former Labour politician guilty on the two counts.

Prosecution QC Peter Wright said the case against Devine was “very straightforward”.  Devine made the fraudulent claims “with a view to gain for himself, or with an intent to cause loss to another – the public purse”.

The prosecutor said an expenses guide known as the Green Book was available to all MPs and clearly set out the rules and regulations covering expense claims.  The guide lists the fundamental principles MPs should adhere to, Mr Wright told the courtroom.

The QC added: “These are based on concepts of selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership,”

“We say these are qualities of which Mr Devine demonstrated a woeful inadequacy.”

Of the Green Book, Mr Wright added: “We say it’s wholly unambiguous. It couldn’t be clearer.”

Devine’s former office manager Marion Kinley, whom the disgraced former MP claimed had secretly paid herself more than £5,000 from his staffing allowance, called Mr Devine’s claims “lies”.

Commenting after the verdict, Ms Kinley said: “Justice has been done.  The jury obviously saw through Mr Devine’s lies.

“For legal reasons, I will not be making any further comment at this time.”

Devine’s case follows the recent jailing of fellow former Labour MP David Chaytor for 18 months after Mr Chaytor admitted to fraudulently claiming more than £20,000 in expenses.

Another Labour MP Eric Illsley was found guilty and sentenced on the same day Devine heard his judgement.  Illsley, 55, dishonestly received £14,500 of public cash falsifying claims relating to his second home in London and was sent to prison for a year.

Devine was granted unconditional bail by Mr Justice Saunders, the trial judge, and he is expected to be sentenced within four weeks.