Richard Garvie – Labour candidate convicted of fraud

Richard Garvie – Labour candidate convicted of fraud

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Photo from the BBC

Introduction

Richard Garvie had a setback on 30th April 2015 in his bid to unseat Peter Bone as MP for Wellingborough & Rushden when he was convicted of fraud.

 

Facts

It is a bit vague. He bought “about £900 worth of train tickets using a bank account he knew contained insufficient funds“.

We don’t actually know what the offence was. It reads as though it is a charge under the Fraud Act 2006 – fraud by false representation.

If so, then the false representation would arise because he presented a card (an implied representation that he has a valid account that can pay the debt created by buying the ticket) to buy a ticket.

He seems to have said “I used the account and intentionally ran up the debt with the bank so that, when the payments to the train company didn’t authorise, the bank would honour them and add it to my own debt“.

It is hard to see what he was doing as being inherently dishonest, but even if it was, is this really conduct worthy of a prosecution? It seems that he had one previous conviction for travelling on a railway without paying from 2008. Even so, this does strike me as more of a civil matter, and that in this time of shrinking budgets the money used for this could probably have been better spent.

 

Sentence

This will be governed by the Sentencing Guidelines for Fraud. It probably falls best into ‘Revenue Fraud’, although it is less serious. On page 22 it would be a Category 7B offence.

Here there, there is no realistic chance of prison – I would expect a fine or a low Community Order.

 

Is he still running for election?

Yes. The law is that once an election has been declared and his name is on the ballot, he cannot be disbarred or withdraw form the election – it’s in the hands of the electorate.

Can you have a convicted fraudster as an MP? Absolutely. Unless he were to get more than 12 months imprisonment, a conviction is no bar to sitting in the House of Commons (which is actually a sensible rule).

It seems that if Mr Garvie is elected next week then he will stand down so that a replacement Labour candidate can be nominated.

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Dan is a barrister at 2 Dr. Johnson’s Buildings practising in crime.

2 COMMENTS

  1. The fact that he tendered the card only when on board a train (where the card readers did not have a live connection) as opposed to at a station (where the card would have been rejected) I think shows a clear intent to avoid payment. Taking into account his previous behaviour, it was quite right that he was prosecuted and the Fraud Act was a perfect fit.

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