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Alan Blacker slapped with nine-month suspended jail sentence for benefit fraud

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Filmed driving miniature locomotives, despite claiming he needed round-the-clock care

Alan Blacker – Credit: CPS

The former lawyer Alan Blacker, aka Lord Harley, has been handed a nine-month suspended jail term after being found guilty of benefit fraud.

The 47-year-old, who first hit headlines in 2014 following a bust-up with a judge at Cardiff Crown Court, dishonestly claimed Disability Living Allowance for five years, stealing £23,127 from the taxpayer, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said in a statement this afternoon.

The CPS said the colourful ex-lawyer had claimed he was “unable to walk without physical support from another person”, “required personal care from another person at all times during the day and night” and “could not manage steps or stairs”.

But footage gathered by the Department for Work and Pensions showed Blacker moving relatively freely, driving miniature locomotives, taking part in training sessions with the Sea Cadets and navigating Cardiff Crown Court while representing a client.

Blacker, who was struck off in 2016 after multiple misconduct charges were proven, was found guilty on 26 November 2019 following a trial at Manchester Crown Court of making a false representation to obtain a benefit. The jury failed to reach a verdict on a further count of dishonestly failing to notify a change in circumstances.

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Blacker was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for a year.

Rob Girvan, of the CPS Mersey Cheshire Fraud Unit, said: “At one point during this investigation, Alan Blacker was working as an advocate in Cardiff Crown Court, moving around the building with ease and climbing stairs, while claiming benefits aimed at people who are ‘virtually unable to walk'”.

He continued: “He had several hobbies and interests, most of them requiring a degree of mobility which he said he didn’t have. The Crown Prosecution Service built a strong case against Alan Blacker and the jury agreed with us that he made deliberate, dishonest representations about his capabilities. This money is much needed by many genuine claimants throughout the country and people like Blacker put dishonest demands on an already stretched public purse.”

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49 Comments

Voldemort

Should’ve used his Harry Potter broomstick to get around.

(23)(3)

Anonymous

People should be blacklisted from the welfare state if they exploit it

(22)(7)

Lord Harley on trial

They are after his choo choos.

Once a fake, always a fake eh Alan #thefakeLordHarley

(11)(1)

lawbytesperson

Not accurate Tom. The sentence was suspended for 2 years not one (the CPS statement is incorrect), and HHJ Lawton sentenced on the basis that over £60,000 was nicked from the taxpayer. Can you fellas not afford a train fare to Manchester to see it for yourselves? Alternatively, the Manchester Evening News/Cavendish are the best source. Just saying…

(27)(13)

Timely

The CPS sentencing statement appeared more than two hours before Blacker’s sentencing hearing!

(5)(2)

Rob

Blacker was charged with two offences. £60,000 was the total for the two charges. £23,000 was for the one charge that was prosecuted successfully (10:2 majority decision) The jury failed to reach a decision on the other charge and the CPS decided it was not in the public interest to pursue another three week trial.

(1)(0)

Laddington. Sympathiser

So it’s now official: Alan Blacker is a thieving fucker.

(28)(1)

Pedant

Manchester Evening News has the accurate story Tom FFS.

(11)(5)

Not Lord Harley

Why do you keep calling him Lord Harley? He isn’t a peer. It’s a complete fiction.

(33)(0)

Warwick Hunt

Pretty obvious now who the ignorant cretin is. What a cockwomble.

(10)(0)

Fantasist

And the next chapter is?…

There is a Proceeds of Crime Hearing in May.

(5)(1)

FOARP

Wow, this guy really is the gift that keeps giving!

(0)(0)

Short Comments Today

Ole!

(4)(1)

Fantastic Repurposed Unicorns

£60,000 stolen from taxpayers and he isn’t seeing the inside of a prison cell. No wonder he went for it.

Makes you really wonder how many benefits claimants helped pro bono by law students are genuinely ill.

(33)(7)

Anon

You’re suggesting that because one person has been prosecuted for benefit fraud most pro bono clients are fraudsters? Tell us more about your chain of reasoning or accept that, with hindsight, that was a cretinous and unworthy thing to post.

(6)(15)

Anonymous

The most ungrateful clients I have ever come across are the pro bono ones. Put me off the process for good.

(28)(1)

Anon

That may well be your experience, but none of this has anything to do with Lord Harley being prosecuted for benefit fraud, is the point. Frankly a weird attempt to shoehorn in an unrelated topic.

(3)(11)

Anonymous

I’ve actually prepared tribunal cases for pro bono clients at a well-known legal charity.

With three staff members trying to supervise hundreds of volunteers, it was impossible to have any concerns about a client’s case listened to.

I know of one client who was eventually jailed for housing benefit fraud. Idiotic to suggest every person referred to the office is honest.

(14)(1)

Anon

Well, you’ve worked really hard to shoehorn in a point about pro bono clients, when there is no connection between them and the Alan Blacker story. There’s a narrative in the press to unfairly stigmatise benefit claimants when the figures show that benefit fraud is low when compared to unclaimed benefits and when compared to tax fraud, which doesn’t have the same stigma. That very stigma prevents people claiming what they’re entitled to.

If you’re the sort of person who did pro bono representation it’s very disappointing that your take-away from that is that fraud is the most important thing to comment on, and that you should search out a completely unrelated story to post a negative comment about pro bono clients. You will know that nationally the success rate in social security tribunals is approaching 80%. Clients are therefore ‘genuinely ill’ enough to pass the DWP’s stringent criteria. A similar appeal success rate in any other jurisdiction would lead to demands for a public inquiry because it shows that front line decision making is shockingly poor.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-51035151

It’s very sad that you continually post in this negative way to unrelated stories and using a variety of different user names.

(4)(15)

Fantastic Repurposed Unicorns

I don’t care that you’re ‘sad’. I’m happy to live in a free country where I can post on the internet about what I’ve seen at pro bono charities.

There is minimal if any ‘supervision’ at all amidst chaotic office environments. Most employment tribunal cases in these places are actually lost by the student volunteers at tribunal.

I’ve seen more bullying and shouting at volunteers at pro bono charities than anywhere else. That should make you ‘sad’, but of course people want to virtual-signal by mentioning charitable work rather than actually, you know, being civil to people.

Charities do not harbour saints. Blacker hid behind a charity to keep his dishonesty hidden for years and to justify his behaviour.

Anonymous

What actually happened?

Anonymous

I need help I need to tell my story but I might die if he finds out

(2)(0)

Fantastic Repurposed Unicorns

Look for the Lawbytes messageboard on Google or tip off Roll on Friday (ROF).

I’ve contacted ROF before. Journalists cannot be compelled by the police or courts to reveal who gave them information.

I’m sorry you feel so frightened. There are good people willing to listen to you and it is because of everyone’s collective work that Blacker was caught.

Good luck to you Angela.

Pastiche Don

Oxbridge graduates are smarter than Blacker

(11)(1)

Anonymous

And to think compared to what all this chap did, a single drunken pass on a Friday night gets you suspended for a year. Madness, sheer madness.

(11)(4)

Observer

Huh?

He’s been removed as solicitor.

Regulatory and criminal proceedings are different.

If you are referring to the recent story in December about a barrister being suspended for 6 months (not a year) that was a regulatory decision – albeit found proved on the criminal standard. Perhaps the real “absolute madness” is that when such an allegation is proved on that standard, it still isn’t referred on to the CPS.

(4)(3)

Anonymous

Or perhaps the real ‘absolute madness’ would be referring a regulatory decision to the CPS.

(4)(4)

Anonymous

It’s likely that a lot of these types of allegations would be rejected by the CPS as not criminal or having no reasonable prospects of success.

(2)(1)

Bye Bye Blacker

All the stuff about 7,500 clients is nonsense. He has never had more than a handful: that is obvious from the evidence of Christine Sharp and the lack of money through the books.

Yet another piece of fantasy. The law will not miss him.

(17)(0)

Ben Waters

I agree that everyone should stop calling him Lord. His name is Alan Blacker.

Also, the offence doesn’t become more serious because he was a former lawyer. The seriousness lays in his dishonestly, the period of time in which he lied and the amount that he received from scarce public resources. A SSO appears to be perfectly fair on the basis of the sentencing regime for this type of offence.

However I don’t know how much compensation/ confiscation figure he’ll be able to pay. The SRA probably caused him to become bankrupt!!

(8)(1)

Informant

I may have some responsibility for Blacker’s latest downfall as I told the DWP fraud hotline in 2015 that Blacker was working as a solicitor-advocate and had defended one client on two occasions at Cardiff Crown Court in 2014.

Early reports for the case in October/November 2019 suggested that DWP investigators had photographed Blacker at Cardiff Crown Court but the released evidence appears to show photos and video from Court CCTV rather than footage shot by DWP Investigators.

I don’t know if any other member of the public also reported Blacker to the DWP for fraud but, if you did, thank you for helping to bring this man to justice.

(21)(7)

Pedant

The DWP investigation was not provoked by a call to their hotline. Blacker was already on their radar since 2011 and the ‘Harry Potter’ debacle in Cardiff reported in the press was seen by the DWP staff who got a warrant to access the Cardiff Crown Court CCTV material.

(12)(1)

Truth Hunter

When will make LawBytes visible to non-members again?

(8)(3)

Lord Voldemort of Voldemory

I reported him in 2010 when he was involved with Sea Cadets.

(0)(0)

Snape from accounts

Expellearmus!

(9)(0)

Guido Fawkes

We both fought to challenge a system and had memorable days in November and the following January. But, in my day, a suspended sentence meant something completely different!

(9)(0)

Some Info About Blacker

For a guy who liked to seek publicity, here is some information now in the public domain about Alan Blacker:

1. No longer a solicitor-advocate
2. No longer a Rolls Royce owner
3. No longer a model train owner
4. In debt to the DWP for over £60,000
5. In debt to the SRA for over £100,000
6. No longer in receipt of disability benefits
7. Still a director of Jaflas – a charity that claims to have no income and no expenditure
8. Will have to behave himself for the next two years to avoid a 9 month jail sentence
9. Will suffer humiliation for the rest of his life
10. Will continue to protest his innocence
11. Will continue to claim he is titled, entitled, super-educated and that his 21 page CV is all true.
12. He was once convicted for falsely claiming to be a solicitor before the SRA made him one!

(15)(1)

Pedant

In a separate civil action in Manchester last year the DWP won a case against Blacker for him to repay £97,000 to the DWP in respect of the total overpayments of his benefits. This criminal case was in relation to £60,000 of that sum.

(9)(1)

Ex Barrister

Sad really.

(2)(1)

Wendy

He doesn’t owe the SRA anything as they bankrupted him.

He will pay the DWP back out of his benefits. Any confiscation order is aimed at locating the small engines that he hid to defeat his creditors.

He is now finished in public life and should crawl back under his stone.

He isn’t a peer. If he genuinely had all the qualifications that he claims to, he wouldn’t have any difficulty getting a job but he is unemployable as he is obviously a not very bright fantasist.

(8)(2)

Anonymous

Dishonest not very bright fantasist? He sounds perfect for Boris’s Brexit cabinet.

(3)(6)

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