Defence cross examine Trading Standards lead investigator, Mr Jackson

LTU Investigative Unit

As the prosecution case comes to a close, Mr Rogers, Defence Counsel for Mr Trevor Jones cross examined Mr Jackson, lead investigator for Trading Standards.

Today, Wednesday, 25, January, Mr Rogers, at Chester Crown Court went through a series of documents which either had or didn’t have Mr Jones “distinct” handwriting or signature.

One vehicle shown to the court Mr Rogers points out that whilst his client has signed documents the mileage on fuel records or the AQUA STAR systems appear consistent, excluding an obvious mileage record error.

“Then following that there appears to be a mileage discrepancy”. Mr Rogers puts it to Mr Jackson: “What appears to happen here is Mr Jones fills in documents that agree with fuel records, but a week or so later there appears to be a mileage discrepancy.”

“Yes, that’s correct”, Mr Jackson adds.

Again another vehicle is shown to the court where handwriting not associated to Mr Jones is provided.

“Making the point at the outset, they are relying on human intervention, and how we are all, me excluded, open to human error.”

Mr Jackson replied: “Yes.”

Another vehicle was shown to the court by Mr Rogers. “The vehicle has a discrepancy between June and July, but again handwriting not associated to Mr Jones”, added Mr Rogers.

“1 June 2011, we see on this different vehicle that the handwriting is associated to Mr Jones and the next AQUA reading a few days later is around 250 miles higher.”

“Then between the 3rd and 7th June there appears to be a mileage discrepancy.”

The court was then shown evidence by Mr Rogers which appeared to show that more than one person worked on certain vehicles on the same day.

Mr Rogers then raised with Mr Jackson the vehicles purchased by PCS from the collapsed chauffeur company, Hallmark Chauffeurs.

It was then pointed out to Mr Jackson that “we don’t actually know when the discrepancy happened on these vehicles?”

Mr Jackson confirmed he didn’t know when the discrepancies happened.

Again, Mr Rogers raised vehicles of a period of time when the alleged mileage discrepancy took place, but also pointed out that we don’t know where the vehicle actually was.

“Another discrepancy happened over a 24/48 hour period, and again we don’t know where this vehicle was”, added Mr Rogers.

Mr Rogers, went onto says: “What these last two examples show is that they don’t have records where Mr Jones dealt with these vehicle, however, a third did, but prior to a mileage discrepancy”.

“The point is we don’t know where these vehicles were or which individual was in the possession of these vehicles at that time period of the discrepancy”, added Mr Rogers.

Mr Richard Pratt, QC, for the prosecution, said to Mr Jackson that you have been asked to look at a number of documents that weren’t signed by Mr Jones.

“If we could just have a look here, on the face of it we have PCS service records and AQUA STAR data looking consistent on this vehicle between December 2010 and March 2011.”

Mr Pratt, QC, showed the court a document that Mr Jones signed with a mileage of 9,155 miles, appearing to have reduced by approximately 39,000 miles.

On the service record from PCS the said vehicle has an advisory that the front brakes and discs need replacing along with the rear pads at the next service.

“We see that the front discs and pads are then replaced along with the rear on a service that appears to have taken place two months later”, added Mr Pratt.

Mr Jackson was then asked when he would expect a service interval to take place, suggesting: “About every 15,000 miles or twelve months.”

The court was then shown evidence of where mileage inconsistencies, not taken into account when calculating alleged mileage discrepancy were signed by Mr Jones.

Mr Jackson was then asked if he had included every service history or document signed by Mr Jones, to which Mr Jackson replied no.

Mr Pratt, QC, then read out a sworn statement to the court from a Mr Percival, the owner and director of Stockton Heath Car Centre.

The statement outlined how Stockton Heath and Mr Percival came to acquire vehicles from PCS.

The car dealer mainly sourced his vehicles from main dealers, with the odd vehicle purchased from auctions the court was told.

Mr Pratt, QC, reading from a statement, told the court how Mr Percival’s son had approached PCS to enquire about vehicles they may have for sale.

One vehicle bought was a Hyundai people carrier for £8,750. His company then sold the vehicle to a member of the public for £9,500.

Sometime later the new owner took the vehicle to a garage in Scotland for repair work.

A statement from the garage in Scotland was read to the court. The statement outlined how the garage did a “walk round” of the vehicle and accessed a central database, Global Warranty Management System, GWMS.

It was found that the vehicle allegedly had 73,000 miles on the database in May 2010, 8,000 more than the odometer reading on the job card shown to the court.

The garage then checked to ensure that vehicles’ cluster hadn’t been replaced, but was unable to find evidence of such a repair.

The owner of the vehicle was then notified of the alleged mileage discrepancy by the garage. Stockton Heath bought the vehicle back and confirmed in their statement that they had never met Mr John Murphy.

Mr Pratt, QC, then explained how Mr Jackson calculated the alleged mileage discrepancy on this vehicle, the mileage registered on the manufacturer database less the mileage on the sale invoice.

Finally, a statement from a fleet finance service manager from Mercedes UK, a department that supplies vehicles to fleet users, including chauffeur services was read out by Mr Pratt and shown to the jury.

The statement explained how seventeen vehicles were provided to PCS in October and November 2010 on a contact only basis, no maintenance, with a three year, 45,000 miles agreement.

The case was adjourned for the day.

All defendants deny the charges. The trial continues.

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