Christopher Brown arrived in his office at 7:45 in the morning just as he had done most working days over the last 12 years. He had worked his way up to the position of Director of Works after starting out as an apprentice plumber with the council some 30 years previous. Sitting down at his desk and unpacking his laptop, Brown had no idea how the day would proceed apart from a series of meetings Brown had to attend and some telephone calls Brown had to make. He sat his laptop on the docking station that was to the left of him on his desk and pressed the power button. Once the laptop had powered up and displayed the login screen, he entered his user id and password. To his surprise, a message appeared on the screen asking him to contact the system administrator. Brown knew this would have to wait, as the computer department help desk did not open until eight thirty.
Moments after eight, the door to Brown’s office opened. The door opening did not startle him as his secretary Dorothy often entered the office first thing, to refresh the water and coffee powder in the coffee maker, in preparation for the morning’s meetings and visitors. What did surprise Brown was that it was two males that had entered the room and headed straight to his desk.
“Christopher Brown?” one the males asked.
“Yes, Can I help you?” Brown responded.
As Brown replied, he noticed one of the males opening a leather wallet sized folder. The man showed him the contents of the folder and said,
“I am Inspector White, and this is Sergeant Moore, we would like to talk to you about your dealings with the building firm called Carter and Allan,” said White.
“OK, how can I help?” responded Brown.
“We would like you to come with us to the police station as we want to question you under caution,” replied White.
On arriving at the local police station, a uniformed officer escorted Brown to an interview room. The room contained four chairs and a table with a recording machine upon it. The uniformed officer told Brown to take a seat and then moved towards the door.
Moments later, the two male officers White and Moore entered the room and told the uniformed officer to wait outside, which he did, closing the door behind him.
“Right then,” said Inspector White as he sat down on the opposite side of the table to Brown and placed a large folder containing various pieces of paper on the desk. Sergeant Moore reached towards the recording machine and was just about to start it recording when Brown said, “Before we start I think I should ask for my lawyer to be present.” Sergeant Moore moved his hand away from the recording machine and said, “That’s probably a good idea.” Brown wrote down the details of his lawyer using a pen and piece of paper supplied by Sergeant Moore. Inspector White and Sergeant Moore then left and were replaced by the uniformed officer who had been waiting outside the room.
Brown’s lawyer arrived at the station and was taken immediately to the interview room where Brown, Inspector White and Sergeant Moore were waiting. She introduced herself as Mrs Jennifer Parker who would be advising Mr Brown during the interview.
Mrs Parker said
“Why has my client been brought to the police station?”
to which Inspector White replied,
“We are investigating your client’s dealings with the building firm called Carter and Allan and the local councils tendering processes.”
“I would like some time to discuss the matter with my client,” replied Mrs Parker.
Inspector White nodded in agreement, stood up and left the room along with Sergeant Moore, closing the door behind them to give Brown and his lawyer some privacy.
About fifteen minutes passed, and Mrs Parker opened the door. She indicated to the uniformed officer outside the door that they were ready to proceed. Inspector White and Sergeant Moore were contacted and made their way back to the interview room. On entering the room, Mrs Parker said,
“My client would like to make a written statement.”
Inspector White acknowledged the request and told Sergeant Moore to provide Brown with a statement form and pen. Moore did as directed, and Brown proceeded to write down his statement. After about thirty minutes, Brown stated he was finished and handed the statement to Sergeant Moore who read the statement out loud.
“I make this statement of my own free will. I understand that I do not have to say anything but that it may harm my defence if I do not mention when questioned something, which I later rely on in court. This statement may be given in evidence.”
“About six years ago I was contacted by Mr Carter a co-owner of a local building firm called Carter and Allan. He was interested in tendering for council building work and wanted to arrange a meeting to discuss the tendering process.”
“We arranged to meet at a local restaurant a couple of days later.”
“During this meeting, Mr Carter asked if there were ways he could increase the chances of his company getting awarded work. I said I would have to think about this and get back to him. We finished our meal and discussions and parted company.”
“Because I had built up massive amounts of debt due to a gambling addiction I decided to see how I could take Mr Carter’s question about increasing his chances of getting contracts further and to my advantage.”
“I started sending out requests for tenders to local building firms detailing the work required. Some of this work was not necessary, but because I signed off the work, it would not matter. If any of the firms asked to see the sites to work out costs, I put them off by claiming to be too busy. If any insisted I told them others had already quoted so, they need not quote themselves.”
“Once I had enough quotes in I would make copies of them and meet with Mr Carter to discuss what they should quote and the amount I was to be paid.”
“Once Carter had completed the job, the bill for the work, including the work that was not required and therefore not done, would be submitted to the accounts department of the council. I would then be asked to sign off the bills for payment to be authorised and made.”
“Payment of my fee was made to me using a savings account I had set up using my ex-wife’s details.”
Inspector White looked at Brown and said, “is there was anything he wanted to add to the statement?”
Brown replied “No.”
Sergeant Moore passed the statement back to Brown and asked him to sign and date it.
Brown signed the statement, gave it back to Sergeant Moore, and asked,
“How did you get onto this?”
Inspector White started to stand up but paused and said,
“Your ex-wife applied for a new mortgage and details of an unknown savings account in her name came to light. She called us because the account appeared to be active and the sums of money going in and out were quite large.”