QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
B e f o r e :
|THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF HASTINGS BOROUGH COUNCIL||(CLAIMANT)|
|DOREEN GEORGINA JONES||(DEFENDANT)|
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(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
MR D LAMMING (instructed by Funnell & Perring) appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT
Crown Copyright ©
MR JUSTICE KEITH:
"If a person for the purpose of obtaining any benefit or other payment under the [Social Security legislation] whether for himself or some other person, or for any other purpose connected with that legislation -- (a) makes a statement or representation which he knows to be false ... he shall be guilty of an offence."
Two points should be made about the offence created by section 112(1). First, dishonesty is not an element of the offence, though a person who makes a statement which he knows to be false will invariably be regarded as having acted dishonestly. Secondly, in Harrison v Department of Social Security (CO/1244/96), the Divisional Court held that a defendant must know, if he is to be convicted of the offence created by section 112(1), that the statement which he was making was material to his application for benefit. That was plainly established in this case in view of Mrs Jones's acceptance that she had been aware that her income was relevant to the assessment of her benefit.
"We were of the opinion that Mrs Doreen Jones did not realise that the forms required both of her employments to be put down on the forms and therefore she did not know each of the statements was false at the time she completed them and accordingly found her not guilty and acquitted her of all 6 of the allegations against her."
The Council requested the justices to state a case for the opinion of the High Court. The question on which the justices have asked the High Court to express an opinion is:
"... whether the court's decision was reasonable on the evidence given that she knew at the time she completed the forms that the form required details of her employment and that she had more than one employment but only disclosed one on the basis that she could not adequately read the question herself to answer it and relied on the assistance of a third party to understand what details were required and to complete the forms."
"A magistrates' court of the Crown Court may make an order for costs against a person convicted of an offence before it or in dealing with it in respect of certain orders as to sentence ... The Crown Court may make an order against an unsuccessful appellant ... The court may make such an order payable to the prosecutor as it considers just and reasonable."
"An application for costs should be made at the end of the case."
"The costs of a legally aided person will not be recovered ..."
"Where one party to any proceedings is a legally assisted person then for the purposes of 16 and 17 of this Act, his costs shall be taken not to [include] the costs of representation funded for him by the Legal Services Commission as part of the Criminal Defence Service."
"In considering whether to make such an order ..."