Today’s award goes to the Crown Prosecution Service in England.
A multi-million-pound diamond scam case collapsed after it emerged that the prosecution’s star witness was a fantasist with no qualifications.
Between May 2011 and February 2015, more than 70 victims – mainly vulnerable pensioners – were conned into investing into one of five companies which invested in the diamond and carbon credit industries.
In total, they lost £3.5million [about US $4.4 million] and today at Southwark Crown Court eight defendants walked free from court after a judge was forced to deliver not guilty verdicts on multiple fraud charges.
The case collapsed following “chaotic” disclosure failures and after the Crown Prosecution Service’s (CPS) key witness, Andrew Ager was discredited as “wholly misleading”.
Police officers have also confirmed that an allegation into his conduct has been referred to the National Crime Agency, while defence lawyers told The Telegraph that “the safety of the convictions in every previous carbon credits prosecution is now in question”.
. . .
Mr Ager, the CPS’s expert witness on the carbon credit trading market, admitted that he had no academic qualifications, had received no training nor had he attended any course on the carbon credit trade.
He said that could not remember if he had passed any A-levels and that he had never read the only book published on what was supposed to be his area of expertise. Instead, he claimed that he had learned “from his environment”.
. . .
Ager’s lack of qualifications only came to light after the defence made four applications to exclude his evidence. All four had been opposed by the prosecution.
There’s more at the link.
Would someone please explain to me how the prosecution authorities could so utterly fail in their duty? If they’ve used this “expert witness” in 50 to 70 other cases, as claimed, then every one of the convictions achieved through his testimony must now be overturned, and the cases re-tried, at ruinous expense – and that’s not counting lawsuits for damages.
As for Mr. Ager himself, I think a fair and reasonable punishment would be to total up the sentences imposed in every case during which he testified, and make him do the lot – all the fines, all the jail time, without exception. He’ll have only himself to blame, after all. (Frankly, if the person or persons in the Crown Prosecution Service who hired him were to share equally in that punishment, I think that might be entirely appropriate, too.)