Sunday 22 July 2018

Tesco accounting fraud trial collapses after defendant suffers heart attack

Judge thanks jury for patience during case, which began in September.

Former UK finance director of Tesco Carl Rogberg (Yui Mok/PA)
Former UK finance director of Tesco Carl Rogberg (Yui Mok/PA)

By Rachael Burnett, Press Association

The trial of three executives accused of cooking the books at Tesco has been discontinued after one of them suffered a heart attack.

The jury, which began hearing the case in September, was discharged after Carl Rogberg, 51, was taken to hospital last week.

Judge Deborah Taylor was due to begin summing up after significant delays in the case at Southwark Crown Court.

But instead she discharged the jury after telling them: “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.”

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

Nicholas Purnell QC, representing Rogberg, told the court 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 had asked for the trial to continue in Rogberg’s absence and said: “I think he would be utterly devastated to discover that as a consequence of what he has been through, there’s a possibility that the trial has to start again.”

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

Press Association

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