JJ was one of four deaf defendants charged with defrauding the DWP by allegedly falsely claiming funding for the use of British Sign Language Interpreters and submitting bogus invoices. It was alleged that the defendants grossly over-claimed for genuine interpreters and completely fabricated the identities of interpreters all together. The fraud spanned a period of 6 years and resulted in DWP payments of nearly £1 million.
The case required careful adherence to the Advocates’ Toolkit in respect of dealing with vulnerable witnesses and deaf witnesses. Each defendant was assisted by a sign language interpreter in addition to three court appointed interpreters. In addition to the defendants, some of the prosecution witnesses were also deaf, one of whom required a ‘deaf relay’ interpreter.
Sophie and Beth were instructed by Nicholls & Nicholls Solicitors.
Sophie is a qualified Vulnerable Witness Trainer and teaches other members of the Bar.