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to think the CPS are waging a kind of war against benefit recipients?

(19 Posts)
fideline Mon 10-Mar-14 19:20:24

Just seen this in the Guardian. A very sad story in which the overpayment of welfare benefits seems incidental.

I have also heard/ read a number of stories lately about claimants who apparently fell foul of ambiguous rules that they didn't understand.

The "living together as husband and wife" regulations have always been extremely subjective, but now a wave of prosecutions seem to be relying on a rather rigid interpretation of them.

I wandered over to NM last night as a result of a (non welfare related) thread here and read some very bewildered threads. It seems unfair to criminalize people in cases of not understanding incredibly nebulous rules.

NeedsAsockamnesty Mon 10-Mar-14 19:23:21

You know the case you linked to is about a man who hid a body in His freezer right?

fideline Mon 10-Mar-14 19:27:28

Yes. Exactly.

He froze his mother's body. Clearly major MH issues. Any benefit overpayment is clearly incredibly incidental to events and a strange priority for the CPS surely?

fideline Mon 10-Mar-14 19:31:03

That is; he was clearly dysfunctional and unable to cope with things. Doesn't seem to be any suggestion that he put his mother in a chest freezer in order to fraudulently collect her benefits.

FraidyCat Mon 10-Mar-14 19:32:07

The opening paragraph of the link says he froze his mothers body in order to claim her benefits. Doesn't seem very incidental to me.

EatShitDerek Mon 10-Mar-14 19:34:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fideline Mon 10-Mar-14 19:34:48

That's the prosecution's assertion, sure. But read it.

CinderellaRockefeller Mon 10-Mar-14 19:38:24

Presumably the mitigation of his mental health was why the sentence was suspended? He's not actually going to prison. And I wonder that he wasn't mentally competent enough to know that hiding your dead mum in the freezer isn't the done thing, but quite sharp enough to continue collecting all her benefits (presumably drawing money out of her accounts)

TestingTestingWonTooFree Mon 10-Mar-14 19:39:39

I don't think one case can amount to "a war against benefit claimants".

fideline Mon 10-Mar-14 19:41:31

We don't know that he had a full appreciation of where the money came from, beyond the routine of withdrawing it from an atm with a cashcard every week.

I just think concealment of a body/ prevention of burial charges would have been quite enough.

fideline Mon 10-Mar-14 19:42:24

I wasn't suggesting it did testing. I'll rustle up some other cases when I've finished cooking.

fideline Mon 10-Mar-14 19:51:26

This case for example.

DLA claim form explicitly states the claimant should describe their symptoms on their worst day. He did. He was prosecuted and acquitted.

WooWooOwl Mon 10-Mar-14 19:52:55

If he was mentally compentent enough to tape up the freezer and hide it and it's plug behind things, then he would have been competent enough to let the authorities know that she had died.

It is not at all clear that there are major mental health issues, where did you get that from?

Yes it's not a normal thing to do, but then nor is rape or murder, and we don't automatically assume major MH issues.

I haven't a clue what you are on about tbh.

springtimedaffodils Mon 10-Mar-14 19:55:25

That's an awful story. I do feel pity for the man in question, but I just cannot imagine placing the body of one of my own much-loved parents into a freezer.

He seems to have been sentenced appropriately.

fideline Mon 10-Mar-14 20:03:54

Am I only person who finds it an odd charge, then?

Because I am pretty sure that if I found a body in a chest freezer, it wouldn't be benefit offences that would be causing me the most upset/outrage.

fideline Mon 10-Mar-14 20:12:45

More detailled Telegraph article on the Sickle Cell case mentioned above

trufflehunterthebadger Mon 10-Mar-14 20:37:14

if the offender had been that mentally unwell, his defence would have argued that he was unfit to enter a plea/stand trial. As they didn't it's unlikely that he was so unwell that he had no idea of what he was doing. A judge would also have considered his fitness to plead

CPS do not operate in a vacuum

NeedsAsockamnesty Mon 10-Mar-14 20:45:00

In that second case he was found not guilty.

The cps are not medical professionals they got given a case that looked like fraud only a medical professional involved with the claimant could have known it was not.

I'm normally the first poster to highlight how something may not be fraud but I can totally understand why both cases got as far as court

fideline Mon 10-Mar-14 21:47:43

So the DWP and CSA don't seek detailed medical advice before taking the decision to prosecute?

I have filled out many many DLA forms. They consistently emphasise that if a medical condition is variable, then symptoms from a bad day should be described. Do the DWP staff not know this? Do the CSA not review claim forms?

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