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Jailed – but did ex-Constable get off easy?

Jailed – but did ex-Constable get off easy?

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Jailed – but did ex-Constable get off easy?

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Former St John Constable Graeme Butcher was behind bars last night after being jailed for stealing from parish funds.

But the Royal Court reduced the 15-month sentence that prosecutors were seeking to just six months, and ordered him to pay less than half of the combined confiscation and costs order requested by the Crown.

Butcher (66) became the first former States Member in well over a century to be convicted of misconduct when he was found guilty of ten counts by a jury last month.

The disgraced ex-politician, who used the Parish credit card and supplier accounts to obtain items for his own personal use, was also ordered to pay £2,000 in compensation to the Parish of St John and a further £15,000 to offset the costs of the prosecution, having denied all the charges levied against him.

In court yesterday, Crown Advocate William Redgrave had called for a prison sentence of 15 months, compensation of £4,000 to offset the Parish’s legal and accounting costs, and an order to recover costs of £35,000 for a prosecution which cost the taxpayer over £60,000.

He described Butcher’s actions as “a series of ten deliberate and dishonest acts” and stressed that he had “persisted in his dishonesty to the end”, but would not admit his guilt and had sought to apportion blame on his Parish colleagues.

“It’s the serious breach of trust, the fact that he did it again and again, and that he won’t admit that he did anything wrong that makes this such a serious offence,” said Advocate Redgrave.

In Butcher’s defence, Advocate Michael Preston said the value of the goods from which he had benefitted was less than £1,000 and that he had subsequently repaid all the amounts in question, including those relating to the five charges of misconduct on which he was acquitted during June’s five day trial.

He said that Butcher had pleaded not guilty as “he had not acted dishonestly or with criminal intent”, but nevertheless he was “extremely remorseful and saddened that he had brought shame on himself, his beloved family and Parish.”

Advocate Preston had urged the court to consider an alternative to a custodial sentence, and to take account of the good Butcher had done for St John, the long delay in bringing the case to trial and the huge impact on his reputation, but in passing sentence, the Deputy Bailiff William Bailhache said that the island was “fortunate” such misconduct was rare in Jersey and that Butcher had breached the trust “the public should have in those who hold public office”.

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Posted by david forde on
So in effect, like ALL politicians who turn criminal. They get their wrists slapped!Then they wonder why we do not Like them??
Posted by The old git Git on
Totally agree with you David....a rule for them and a different one for us.
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