City of London police detectives are facing disciplinary action after a £3.5m fraud trial collapsed amid claims the ‘expert’ witness had no qualifications
- Two City of London police detectives face disciplinary action over case collapse
- Their expert witness Andrew Ager had no official qualifications in the subject
- Officers would also ring him and tell him what to say in court, it has been claimed
- More than 20 fraud cases involving Ager as a witness could now be re-opened
Two City of London police detectives are facing disciplinary action after a fraud trial collapsed when they used a ‘fantasist’ as an expert witness.
The detectives, who haven’t been named, used former carbon trader Andrew Ager in an alleged £3.5million cold-calling scam where 72 people claim they were convinced to make bad investments in carbon credits and diamonds.
The case collapsed, however, when it emerged that Ager had no official qualifications and had never read a book on carbon credits.
As it unravels more than 20 other fraud trails where the 45-year-old was used as a witness could now be declared unsafe and re-opened.
Andrew Ager (pictured) was found to not have any academic qualifications and admitted never having read a book on carbon credits, despite being used as an expert witness on the matter
Judge Loraine-Smith, speaking at Southwark Crown Court, said the case was ‘fatally flawed’ after hearing about Ager’s credentials for being an expert witness, reports the Sunday Times.
He also said that Ager was told ‘exactly what the police wanted… and even suggested the wording’ by detective constable Stewart Walker, which demonstrated that he ‘did not understand the duties’ of an expert witness.
Following the case, City of London police said that as well as referring officers to its professional standards department, it would review all cases involving Ager.
It is not clear whether whether Walker is one of the officers that is being disciplined.
‘We are undertaking a thorough review of this case and Mr Ager’s involvement in our work,’ said a spokesman.
‘This review will cover Mr Ager’s appointment and how the force managed his involvement with cases.
Mr Ager’s inadequacy as an expert surfaced during a fraud trial at Southwark Crown Court (pictured) on Wednesday
‘Until this work is completed we are not in a position to discuss Mr Ager or cases he may have been involved with.’
Ager’s lack of expertise with carbon credits emerged when defence lawyers for Steven Sulley, one of the men later acquitted for fraud, starting quizzing him about his background.
Summing up the case, the Judge said that Ager had provided a ‘wholly misleading’ statement to police, which included information that was ‘cut and paste’ from another statement.
‘He is not an expert of a suitable calibre,’ said the judge.
‘He had little or no understanding of the duties of an expert. He had received no training and attended no courses. He has no academic qualifications. His work has never been peer-reviewed.’
The court also heard that during a three-hour telephone call, Ager attempted to dissuade the defence’s expert witness, Dr Marius Cristian Frunza – who the judge said was ‘undoubtedly an expert in this field’ – from giving evidence.
The judge said: ‘On what I heard it seems likely that Mr Ager was keen that his evidence should not be challenged and he felt threatened by the prospect of a far more impressive expert appearing in an area of expertise in which he hoped to continue to make a living.’
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