2 Jul 2014

Our ponderous legal system

We have met Stephen Sussams before, most recently here.

He had pocketed £17,600 in care fees mistakenly paid into a dead man’s bank account, which he had access to as the deceased’s carer.

He had also illegally claimed more than £14,000 in housing and council tax benefit after failing to tell the council he was living with his civil partner. (h/t Dave) At a trial in December 2012, he was found guilty of theft, dishonestly making a false statement or representation, and three counts of fraud by failing to disclose information.

A this fraudster, who ran a gourmet pub that sold £125 champagne truffle burgers, is set to be finally kicked out of his council home.

Benefits cheat Stephen Sussams, aged 61, has fought a lengthy legal battle with the council to try and remain in his property in Upper Norwood.

But on Thursday, 26 June, a judge at Croydon County Court gave council officers the green light to evict Sussams.

Sussams, jailed for a year in January 2013 for a string of fraud charges, is the former landlord of the Royal Dart Hotel in Devon.

The pub was famed for its £125 champagne and truffle beefburger speciality, said to be the most expensive burgers in the world.

Councillor Alison Butler, cabinet member for homes and regeneration, said:
This has been a long, drawn-out case and it’s a credit to our housing legal and tenancy teams for their determination and hard work in bringing about this eviction. We don’t take these decisions lightly, however this was an individual who abused the benefits system and in the process deprived a family in need of a home. The council’s housing department will always take a hard line against those that try and cheat the system.
In a favourite phrase of the state sector, there are lessons to be learned here.

This man is a criminal. He was found guilty in December 2012. Not December last year, December 2012. The people who design legal procedure really need to learn from this.

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