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‘No case to answer’ ruling in case against former Tesco executives

6 December, 2018 | News Releases

Mr Justice John Royce has ruled that Christopher Bush and John Scouler have no case to answer over alleged financial misreporting that saw Tesco overstate its profits by more than £250m in 2014.

The Court of Appeal on 5 December upheld the decision by the Judge that there was insufficient evidence for a jury to consider in respect of the individual defendants on trial and ordered an acquittal.

The judgment comes after Tesco Stores Limited accepted responsibility for false accounting practices through a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) in March last year, the details of which remain subject to reporting restrictions.

A third defendant, Carl Rogberg, was severed from this trial. The SFO is considering whether to pursue a retrial in light of the judgment.

Notes to Editors 

  1. The SFO began investigating this case in October 2014. See press releases here.
  2. Carl Rogberg (19/01/1967), Christopher Bush (DOB 16/12/1965) and John Scouler (DOB 12/06/1968) were each charged with of one count of:
    1. Fraud by Abuse of Position, contrary to Section 1 and 4 of the Fraud Act 2006; and
    2. False Accounting contrary to Section 17 of the Theft Act 1968
  3. The three stood trial in September 2017 and the Crown’s case withstood half-time challenges entered in that trial. The jury was discharged on 6 February 2018. The retrial of two defendants began on 1 October 2018 before Sir John Royce.
  4. Mr Justice John Royce handed down a no case to answer judgment on Monday 26 November in Southwark Crown Court. The SFO appealed the decision at a hearing before Lady Justice Hallet in the Court of Appeal on Wednesday 5 December.
  5. The DPA between Tesco Stores Limited and the Serious Fraud Office will be published shortly subject to the removal of reporting restrictions or further Order by Sir Brian Leveson.
  6. Counsel for the Prosecution
    1. Sasha Wass QC
    2. Esther Schutzer-Weissman
  7. Counsel for the Defence
    1. Nicholas Purnell QC  (Rogberg) –Norton Rose Fulbright
    2. Adrian Darbishire QC (Bush) – Hickman Rose
    3. Ian Winter QC (Scouler) – BCL Solicitors LLP

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