£500,000 theft court hearing a ‘shocking waste of money’

Scarborough Magistrates, where the hearing was held
Scarborough Magistrates, where the hearing was held

A Scarborough magistrate has warned that a £500,000 theft case is in danger of collapsing, due to the “failings” of the Crown Prosecution Service.

Chairman of the Bench Tony Green branded a court hearing over the allegations a “shocking waste of time and money” after the CPS failed to prepare vital papers for the case.

His comments relate to the case of Scarborough men William Messruther and Mark Belton, who are accused alongside Nashaat Ahmed, of York, and Driffield man Jamie Calvert, of stealing in excess of 9.5 million data records totalling more than half a million pounds from marketing firm Emailmovers.

The group appeared at Scarborough Magistrates’ on Friday morning over the charges, expecting the case to be sent for trial at York Crown Court.

However, at the hearing, it emerged that the CPS had failed to fully prepare papers for the case - despite one of the defendants travelling up from Birmingham for a hearing Mr Green referred to as a “none event”.

He adjourned the case “not without reluctance” for a fortnight to give the CPS further time to prepare - but warned that if the papers are not prepared in time, then the court will “actively” look at dropping the case.

The four face a charge of theft by finding for the offences, which are alleged to have occurred between January 1 and October 17 2012.

Neither 23-year-old Belton, of Stepney Road, or 28-year-old Messruther, from Albemarle Crescent, have entered a plea yet, nor have their co-defendants.

All four defendants have been granted bail, and are scheduled to appear before Scarborough Magistrates on Friday July 19.