Monday, 10 December 2012

Ah, The ‘Margaret Moran Defence’! Unsuccessful, This Time…

A former Oxford University lecturer has been jailed for five years at the Old Bailey for destroying a design consultancy after being hired as maternity cover. Maria Di Natale, 45, squandered the proceeds of a £436,000 fraud on designer clothes, holidays and hiring a private jet.
Now, the company certainly bears a lot of responsibility for the laxness of their checks. But she was quite determined and went to extreme lengths to carry out this fraud, and cover it up.
When she realised the police were on her tail, Di Natale tried to have two incriminating computers stolen from the company offices.
But the scheme eventually caught up with her and she pleaded guilty to fraud by abuse of position and attempting to pervert the course of justice on the first day of her trial.
However, once caught, it was a quick diagnosis of ‘too ill to be punished!’, but an effort that was for naught:
John Carl Townsend, defending, claimed Di Natale, previously a lecturer at Oxford University with a degree from the London School of Economics, was suffering from bipolar disorder.
She should have got two five year sentences then!

9 comments:

Noggin the Nog said...

She'll be out in a little over 2 years.

Not many jobs pay 200 grand a year. The Judge needs to get the risk vs reward thing sorted out.

allcoppedout said...

I actually find her less culpable than the average bankster and merely not as good at covering her tracks. In one way I agree with Noggin and yet wonder about banging up a woman gone psycho when people who rip off billions retire 'gracefully' to the sun and vast property estates (Enron etc.)
Our system isn't working as AP demonstrates over and again. The question is how to fix it beyond our desires to publicly flog a couple of Aussie 'pranksters' and to decorate lamp-posts with swinging banksters for Xmas.

allcoppedout said...

Remember Ernest Saunders (Guinness)and his very early Altsheimer's onset defence?

Maybe we should be able to 'inject' people with such defences with the 'disease' - after all, if they really have it this would make no difference and would be a substantial deterrent to false claims!

Noggin the Nog said...

aco,

I think that theft is one of the least serious of offences, when done in a way that does not include the threat of violence, for the simple reason that it is a crime that can be undone. The money can be paid back, with interest and a punitive element too. Even if it takes the rest of the offender's life.

If this woman was still paying in 20 years time, I think that would have a far more deterrent effect that a cuple of years in a holiday camp, sitting on 400 grand

Mr Grumpy said...

'She should have got two five year sentences then!'

Teeheehee

John Pickworth said...

The ‘Margaret Moran Defence’!

I'm still amazed the judiciary fell for that one. However, its good to see her out and about again, visiting the pub, taking long walks with her hubby in the winter sunshine and having lost the Miss Marple look. I was beginning to worry her illness (cough) might have prevented the enjoyment of her parliamentary pension.

MTG said...

Given our zero tolerance of punishment, such ventures must represent a reasonable 'business' proposition to any student of economics.

Twenty_Rothmans said...

Huh? She did play the MM card. She being the operative word.

Victim says: I have lost faith in humankind
Anyone who legitimises that abortion of a word deserves what he gets. Or she, if that makes him or her happier.
You just don’t do that to a family company
So I suppose anything else is fair game. How does that work?

“The directors had no idea what was happening to their company finances until the company had nearly collapsed.”
It was good enough for the last government, and this one as well, it seems.

suffering from bipolar disorder. She should have got two five year sentences then!
You rule.

JuliaM said...

"The Judge needs to get the risk vs reward thing sorted out."

Indeed! Wasn't that what the harsh penalties for the rioters was really all about? At least, while judges were in the spotlight...

"... and yet wonder about banging up a woman gone psycho when people who rip off billions retire 'gracefully' to the sun and vast property estates (Enron etc.)"

But, as you point out yourself, there's always a hint of doubt about just how convenient that diagnosis can be...

"...for the simple reason that it is a crime that can be undone. The money can be paid back..."

Except...it very, very rarely is!

" However, its good to see her out and about again, visiting the pub, taking long walks with her hubby in the winter sunshine.."

It was rather irritating, wasn't it? I wonder if the judge cared?