Tuesday 17 September 2019

Accounting fraud trial of former Tesco bosses discontinued after one defendant suffers heart attack

Former Tesco executives (left to right) John Scouler, Carl Rogberg and Christopher Bush
Former Tesco executives (left to right) John Scouler, Carl Rogberg and Christopher Bush

The accounting fraud trial of three former Tesco bosses has been discontinued after one of the defendants had a heart attack.

The trial at Southwark Crown Court, which began in September last year, collapsed after Carl Rogberg, 51, was taken to hospital.

Judge Deborah Taylor was due to begin her summing up after significant delays in the case, but instead discharged the jury on Monday. The collapse of the case can be reported for the first time after reporting restrictions were lifted on Tuesday.

Rogberg, Chris Bush, 51, and John Scouler, 49, are accused of failing to correct inaccurately recorded income figures which were published to auditors, other employees and the wider market.

The Serious Fraud Office is considering if the case should go to retrial.

Judge Deborah Taylor told the 11 remaining members of the Tesco jury on Monday: "Thank you once again for your patience.

"The position is this: very unfortunately and sadly Mr Rogberg has suffered from a heart attack and is currently in hospital awaiting surgery.

"In the circumstances it would not be right or proper to continue with this trial and therefore I am discharging you from further dealing with this case.

"It has been a long period and I know it must be quite frustrating for you not to come to a conclusion at the end of all your hard work during the course of this trial."

Nicholas Purnell QC, representing Rogberg, told the court on Monday that he was rushed to hospital on Thursday last week after suffering a major heart attack.

He is due to have surgery later this week after three blockages were found in his heart, Mr Purnell said.

"He has found the delay increasingly stressful," he added.

A decision about a possible retrial is due to be made on March 2.

PA Media

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