Following an investigation that lasted over 3 years by the Regional Asset Recovery Team (RART) within Tarian, the South Wales Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU), LM and SM were charged with a number of offences relating to what the prosecution asserted were high-value, unexplained transactions.

Anu Mohindru QC was instructed by Bowden Jones Solicitors to lead Sophie Stannard in the defence of LM who had been jointly charged with her husband on 5 counts of concealing and converting criminal property through gaming machines known as Fixed Odd’s Betting Terminals. LM’s husband, MM, had previously been convicted of drug trafficking to the value of £2.5million.

Benjamin Waidhofer was instructed Abbeys Solicitors to lead Sophie Murray in the defence of SM who had been charged with allegations of dishonesty – including allegations of theft from a company that he was a director of – and an unrelated offence of money laundering, said to relate to unexplained cash credits to a personal bank account.

In the course of the pre-trial legal argument spearheaded by Benjamin Waidhofer and Sophie Murray, the prosecution elected to ‘offer no evidence’ against SM in respect of all the theft counts alleged against him.

SM was left to stand trial with a single offence of money laundering over £30,000 through a bank account.  The trial commenced in late 2019 and, following cross-examination of prosecution witnesses, subsequently collapsed in order to enable the prosecution to obtain material it had failed to secure before the commencement of the trial.

The trial was re-fixed to commence in September 2020.

In March 2020, the prosecution informed the defence that it would formally offer no evidence against SM and therefore SM was acquitted of all allegations against him.

The prosecution continued in respect of LM with the trial listed to commence in May 2021.

In respect of the prosecution against LM, the prosecution sought to rely upon data from ‘gambling vouchers’ to show how much money was loaded into Fixed Odd’s Bettering Terminals, what games were played, how long they were played for and – importantly – how much money was won. The Crown sought to rely on this data to prove LM and MM had laundered over £200,000.

Anu Mohindru QC and Sophie Stannard argued that all of the gambling raw data ought to be disclosed, to ensure its accuracy and reliability. Relying on Josephine Hamilton and others v Post Office Limited [2021] EWCA Crim 577, it was argued that without access to the raw data, it would be impossible for the Judge to direct the jury as to the reliability or otherwise of the operating system and records.

When forced to concede that the raw data was unobtainable, the Crown subsequently offered no evidence to all 5 counts against LM, and therefore LM was acquitted of all allegations against her.

Members of Foundry chambers specialise in providing legal and advocacy advice in cases of considerable factual and legal complexity, particularly those involving financial transactions and allegations of financial wrongdoing in both the civil and criminal arena.  Any queries about this matter, or any other, ought to be addressed to clerks@foundrychambers.com.