A long running legal case against a former council leader investigated for alleged recycling fraud has been dropped.
The former leader of Eden District Council Colin Nineham resigned in 2009 after being arrested as part of an investigation into alleged fraud at Eden Community Recycling where he is managing director.
Nineham (pictured above), along with two other defendants was set to face trial at Preston Crown Court this month in a case brought by Cumbria County Council’s Trading Standards department.
However, it has emerged that the indictment has been “stayed” after the defence successfully argued that due process had not been followed.
In a statement Colin Nineham and his wife Lynda, also a defendant, said that the case had caused “terrible strain and stress” but they had been vindicated by the judgement and hoped Cumbria County Council “have learnt valuable lessons from this case”.
Cumbria County Council said it was disappointed with the judge’s decision not to proceed with the trial as there was a “strong case and robust evidence” for the prosecution.
“Despite the judge’s decision, we believe trading standards acted in the public’s interest in bringing this prosecution forward based on the evidence available,” a statement said.
It also said: “The judge acknowledged the efforts put in by the employees of the county council to proceed with the case but was left with concerns that, due to the enormity of the task undertaken, all of the relevant material had [not] been made available to the defence. In light of these concerns, we will be carrying out a thorough review of our procedures so that we can learn lessons for the future.”