Accusations of dishonesty can come about for various reasons. More often than not, the accused will be facing serious consequences if a court finds they have acted dishonestly. To protect your liberty and livelihood, it is advisable to get expert legal support from the outset.

If you are facing charges of dishonesty, we recommend you speak with one of our expert defence solicitors here at The Sethi Partnership Solicitors as soon as practicable. Subject to acceptance of your case, our lawyers will advise you, guide you through the uncertainty and use all their skills to defend you.

Criminal charges: Dishonesty

Under the criminal law of England and Wales, the term dishonesty covers a broad set of wrongdoings. Charges could involve:

  • Tax evasion
  • Benefit fraud
  • Shoplifting
  • Theft
  • Bribery
  • False accounting
  • Money laundering
  • Infringement of copyright
  • White collar crime, such as embezzlement

Though the description is broad, convictions for dishonesty offences share at least one common outcome: a detrimental effect on one’s life and perhaps liberty. Even when an offence does not result in a custodial sentence, it could well mean a criminal record, with adverse effects on one’s career and reputation.

On conviction, court sentences range from fines and community service orders, to custodial sentences. In serious cases involving significant fraud and larger sums, as is typical in embezzlement cases, the prison terms handed down are usually long. Even if there are extenuating circumstances, the courts take white-collar crimes seriously.

Whether or not the charges you face appear to be serious, we recommend you contact an experienced defence lawyer at the earliest opportunity – and certainly before making a formal statement to the police.

Proving dishonesty

In April 2020, a landmark judgement in a criminal case heard in the Court of Appeal (R v. Barton and Booth) established that the legal test for dishonesty should be in line with acceptable standards of behaviour or practices in society, rather than defendants’ understanding of such standards. Specifically, the trial involved the owner of a nursing home, Barton, who defrauded wealthy, elderly residents by having them turn control of their finances over to him.

As a consequence of the precedent established in the judgement, the test which juries now apply for dishonesty is less complicated than before. Jurors’ fact-finding duties include considering defendants’ knowledge of what was going on, i.e. why the defendant(s) acted as they did, before comparing this to the standards to which ordinary, reasonable citizens would adhere. As a result, defendants are now much less likely to succeed if they aver innocent motivations that are not in line with the norms of society.

Dealing with charges of dishonesty

For tax offences involving charges brought by HMRC, obtaining legal advice at the earliest opportunity is crucial.  We will give you straightforward advice and do our utmost to ensure the best possible outcome for you, whether that involves fighting it out at trial, or entering into negotiations with the prosecutor to try to deflate and mitigate the situation as much as possible.

To discuss your options when facing accusations of dishonesty, contact our legal team in Ruislip, Middlesex

The locally-based lawyers at The Sethi Partnership Solicitors have been providing specialist legal advice for a diverse range of clients since 1994. Whatever your circumstances, speak to one of our trusted solicitors today to discuss your case.

To arrange an initial appointment, call us today on 020 3856 8156 or complete our online enquiry form.