The Old Bailey has rejected an application from Tom Henderson, the founder and former chief executive of the disaster relief charity ShelterBox, to have his trial for alleged fraud moved from London to Cornwall.
Henderson, 64, from Helston, Cornwall, has been charged with three counts of fraud of abuse by position and one of attempted theft from the charity.
He was dismissed after allegedly carrying out a five-year scam of the disaster relief organisation between 2007 and 2012.
It is claimed that Henderson also tried to steal 1,000 tents from the charity, which provides emergency shelter and supplies to disaster-hit communities.
At a hearing at the Old Bailey in London last month, the three defendants – the other two are Henderson’s son John, 35, from Hayle, Cornwall, and Darren Gervis, 42, from Beaminster, Dorset – asked for the trial to be moved to Truro, Cornwall, to avoid the inconvenience of witnesses and defendants travelling to London. But prosecutors claimed the case had aroused so much local interest that there was a danger of the three men not getting a fair hearing.
Judge Brian Barker, the Recorder of London, ruled that the case should not be moved. "It does seem to me that this case, having started here and having the facilities here, should stay here," he said.
He said the case needed to be dealt with as speedily as possible, and a London trial could begin in June, several months earlier than in any other court.
The three men appeared in court but did not have to enter the dock. They will enter pleas to the charges at a later date.
Tom Henderson is charged with one count of fraud by abuse of position in which he is alleged to have conspired with John Henderson, another in which he is alleged to have conspired with his son and Gervis, and a third in which he is alleged to have misused a credit card.
John Henderson is charged with theft of property, possession of a shotgun without a firearms licence, possession of a firearm and two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by abuse of position.
Gervis is charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by abuse of position.