Leading councillor is in court on fraud charges

Evesham Journal: IN COURT: Emma Stokes. IN COURT: Emma Stokes.

A WYCHAVON district councillor said she was embarrassed and humiliated to find herself facing fraud charges.

Emma Stokes, who represents the Bengeworth ward in Evesham, was one of four people who appeared at Worcester Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

The 52-year-old Conservative councillor from the Leys in Evesham is charged along with 70-year-old Christopher Sandison, of Church End Court, Upton-upon-Severn; Stephen Black, 58, of Lockside Drive, Kinver, near Kidderminster; and Claudia Black, 56, of Showell Green, Droitwich.

They each face two charges under the Financial Services and Markets Act.

The charges are that they dishonestly concealed facts to induce another to enter into an agreement and recklessly made a misleading, false and deceptive statement to induce another to enter into an agreement.

None of the defendants entered a plea and the case was transferred to the city’s crown court where a plea and case management hearing will be held on Monday, April 29.

After the case Stokes, who is an executive board member for environment and contracted services, issued a statement saying that she was embarrassed and humiliated to find herself before the court.

She added that she would vigorously deny the two alleged offences, which date back to 2006.

“It is with sincere embarrassment and humiliation that I have found myself caught up in a series of civil and criminal investigations.

“I apologise for any embarrassment caused to my family, friends and to the council and ask that judgement of my character be made upon knowing the defence and the outcome of any trial.”

All the defendants were released on unconditional bail.

Comments (11)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

2:09pm Fri 5 Apr 13

brooksider says...

I presume Emma will do the right thing and step down from the Executive Board until the outcome of the case.
I presume Emma will do the right thing and step down from the Executive Board until the outcome of the case. brooksider

3:04pm Fri 5 Apr 13

Samboy says...

Why? Innocent until proved guilty!
Why? Innocent until proved guilty! Samboy

3:42pm Fri 5 Apr 13

More Tea Vicar says...

Well, she is innocent until proven guilty. But what happens if she is guilty?

Presumably she steps down? If she doesn't, she should.
Well, she is innocent until proven guilty. But what happens if she is guilty? Presumably she steps down? If she doesn't, she should. More Tea Vicar

5:55pm Fri 5 Apr 13

Landy44 says...

There should currently be a presumtion of innocence and there is not therefore currently a need to step down unless the court proceedings and accompanying reporting adversely impact her ability to do her job!

IF she is guilty then clearly she should step down!!! It shouldn't be a choice!
There should currently be a presumtion of innocence and there is not therefore currently a need to step down unless the court proceedings and accompanying reporting adversely impact her ability to do her job! IF she is guilty then clearly she should step down!!! It shouldn't be a choice! Landy44

9:18am Sat 6 Apr 13

Piccolo says...

Muddled thinking? If this were a public sector employee rather than an elected member there's absolutely no doubt that he/she would be suspended from duty until the outcome is known. She absolutely should without any hesitation step back for the time being from public decision making - either voluntarily or compulsorily. How could it be right for her to remain responsible for important public spending decisions with unresolved concerns over her integrity?
Muddled thinking? If this were a public sector employee rather than an elected member there's absolutely no doubt that he/she would be suspended from duty until the outcome is known. She absolutely should without any hesitation step back for the time being from public decision making - either voluntarily or compulsorily. How could it be right for her to remain responsible for important public spending decisions with unresolved concerns over her integrity? Piccolo

11:11am Sat 6 Apr 13

Maggie Would says...

Piccolo wrote:
Muddled thinking? If this were a public sector employee rather than an elected member there's absolutely no doubt that he/she would be suspended from duty until the outcome is known. She absolutely should without any hesitation step back for the time being from public decision making - either voluntarily or compulsorily. How could it be right for her to remain responsible for important public spending decisions with unresolved concerns over her integrity?
Piccolo has it exactly right. She is of course to be seen as innocent until proven guilty, but until that time she should take a back seat or be suspended from her role as a councillor.
[quote][p][bold]Piccolo[/bold] wrote: Muddled thinking? If this were a public sector employee rather than an elected member there's absolutely no doubt that he/she would be suspended from duty until the outcome is known. She absolutely should without any hesitation step back for the time being from public decision making - either voluntarily or compulsorily. How could it be right for her to remain responsible for important public spending decisions with unresolved concerns over her integrity?[/p][/quote]Piccolo has it exactly right. She is of course to be seen as innocent until proven guilty, but until that time she should take a back seat or be suspended from her role as a councillor. Maggie Would

10:21am Mon 8 Apr 13

green49 says...

Totally agree Maggie. Common sense that is but then there isn't much of that around these days.
As Ms Stokes is a Conservative she will have to be pushed if found guilty as the Cons never go till then.
Totally agree Maggie. Common sense that is but then there isn't much of that around these days. As Ms Stokes is a Conservative she will have to be pushed if found guilty as the Cons never go till then. green49

6:40pm Mon 8 Apr 13

More Tea Vicar says...

green49 wrote:
Totally agree Maggie. Common sense that is but then there isn't much of that around these days.
As Ms Stokes is a Conservative she will have to be pushed if found guilty as the Cons never go till then.
It's a difficult one. The presumption of innocence has to be sacrosanct but I can see common sense reasons why people should stand aside pending clarification.

And the Tories do have a poor record on this. I hope the voters will punish them for standing by Allah Dittah after his graveside outburst but it is incredible that the Tories stood by him,letting electoral maths outweigh common decency.

That said, if people have to stand aside every time there is an allegation against them we could end up slipping into a mindset of assumed guilt.
[quote][p][bold]green49[/bold] wrote: Totally agree Maggie. Common sense that is but then there isn't much of that around these days. As Ms Stokes is a Conservative she will have to be pushed if found guilty as the Cons never go till then.[/p][/quote]It's a difficult one. The presumption of innocence has to be sacrosanct but I can see common sense reasons why people should stand aside pending clarification. And the Tories do have a poor record on this. I hope the voters will punish them for standing by Allah Dittah after his graveside outburst but it is incredible that the Tories stood by him,letting electoral maths outweigh common decency. That said, if people have to stand aside every time there is an allegation against them we could end up slipping into a mindset of assumed guilt. More Tea Vicar

6:54pm Mon 8 Apr 13

Piccolo says...

But this isn't just an allegation, she's been formally charged before a Court which means there's been an investigation & the Crown Prosecution Service considers the evidence presents a reasonable prospect of conviction. Innocent until proved be guilty - yes of course, without doubt, but let's be consistent & hold to some semblance of integrity in public affairs.
But this isn't just an allegation, she's been formally charged before a Court which means there's been an investigation & the Crown Prosecution Service considers the evidence presents a reasonable prospect of conviction. Innocent until proved be guilty - yes of course, without doubt, but let's be consistent & hold to some semblance of integrity in public affairs. Piccolo

7:19pm Mon 8 Apr 13

More Tea Vicar says...

Piccolo wrote:
But this isn't just an allegation, she's been formally charged before a Court which means there's been an investigation & the Crown Prosecution Service considers the evidence presents a reasonable prospect of conviction. Innocent until proved be guilty - yes of course, without doubt, but let's be consistent & hold to some semblance of integrity in public affairs.
I agree on the consistency issue. If standard practice is that a public sector employee would stand aside pending resolution, then she should too.
[quote][p][bold]Piccolo[/bold] wrote: But this isn't just an allegation, she's been formally charged before a Court which means there's been an investigation & the Crown Prosecution Service considers the evidence presents a reasonable prospect of conviction. Innocent until proved be guilty - yes of course, without doubt, but let's be consistent & hold to some semblance of integrity in public affairs.[/p][/quote]I agree on the consistency issue. If standard practice is that a public sector employee would stand aside pending resolution, then she should too. More Tea Vicar

4:19pm Tue 9 Apr 13

Landy44 says...

More Tea Vicar wrote:
Piccolo wrote:
But this isn't just an allegation, she's been formally charged before a Court which means there's been an investigation & the Crown Prosecution Service considers the evidence presents a reasonable prospect of conviction. Innocent until proved be guilty - yes of course, without doubt, but let's be consistent & hold to some semblance of integrity in public affairs.
I agree on the consistency issue. If standard practice is that a public sector employee would stand aside pending resolution, then she should too.
Having thought more about this, I have to agree. Although there should be a presumption of innocence, those in public service need to be seen to have integrity beyond doubt and therefore she should be suspended pending the outcome of the case, at which time she should either resume duties (assuming nothing in the outcome of the case prevents this) or stand down permanently.
[quote][p][bold]More Tea Vicar[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Piccolo[/bold] wrote: But this isn't just an allegation, she's been formally charged before a Court which means there's been an investigation & the Crown Prosecution Service considers the evidence presents a reasonable prospect of conviction. Innocent until proved be guilty - yes of course, without doubt, but let's be consistent & hold to some semblance of integrity in public affairs.[/p][/quote]I agree on the consistency issue. If standard practice is that a public sector employee would stand aside pending resolution, then she should too.[/p][/quote]Having thought more about this, I have to agree. Although there should be a presumption of innocence, those in public service need to be seen to have integrity beyond doubt and therefore she should be suspended pending the outcome of the case, at which time she should either resume duties (assuming nothing in the outcome of the case prevents this) or stand down permanently. Landy44

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree