Crown Prosecution Service drops Gift Aid fraud charges against two accountants

Judge at Liverpool Crown directs that Edward Watkin Gittins and Martin Calcutt should be acquitted after new evidence comes to light

Liverpool Crown Court
Liverpool Crown Court

Two accountants charged in connection with an alleged £1m Gift Aid fraud have been cleared.

Edward Watkin Gittins, a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and Martin Calcutt, a member of the ICAEW, were charged last year with cheating the public revenue. Calcutt faced an additional charge of forgery.

The Crown Prosecution Service said at the time that it charged both men after an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs found evidence of a fraud allegedly costing the public revenue "in the region of £1m".

But a spokesman for the CPS said that a judge at Liverpool Crown Court directed that the pair should be acquitted after the CPS decided the case against them should be dropped.

The CPS spokesman said that in August last year the CPS determined there was sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction, based on the material provided by HMRC and the defence at the time.

"In May this year, the trial judge rejected an application by the defence to have the case dismissed, ruling that there was a case to answer," he said. "Two weeks into the trial, during cross-examination of prosecution witnesses, the defence produced material that had not previously been provided to us. In light of the resulting evidence from the witnesses, we decided to offer no further evidence."

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