9:00am Thursday 3rd January 2013
By Jenny Loweth
A working men’s club in Bradford is fighting a court battle to overturn a hefty fine and costs bill incurred by its previous administration.
Wibsey Working Men’s Club, which has more than 350 members, was ordered to pay £2,095 by Bradford and Keighley Magistrates Court in October after it pleaded guilty by letter to not submitting its accounts over two years.
The prosecution, brought by the Financial Services Authority, left it facing a £600 fine and a bill on top of that for the cost of bringing the case to court.
Yesterday the club’s president, George Wignall, vice-president, George Robinson, and secretary, Phillip Wignall, attended Bradford Crown Court to appeal against the sentence of the lower court.
Phillip Wignall, speaking for the club in court because it did not have legal representation, told Recorder Taryn Turner, sitting with two magistrates, that it believed it had been incorrectly advised to plead guilty to a fault of the previous administration.
Mr Wignall said the club was not happy with the conviction or the sentence. Recorder Turner first stood the case down and then adjourned it until Friday, February 8, when it will be reviewed. She said it would give Tom Rushbrooke, solicitor for the Financial Services Authority, and club members time to prepare for an application to revoke the guilty plea.
If the club succeeds in overturning its original plea, a full hearing against its conviction will go ahead at the Crown Court.
It is estimated to last one and a half days. If not, a shorter appeal against the sentence will take place. Recorder Turner said the adjournment gave time for the club to hold a committee meeting and to decide whether to seek legal advice.
Mr Wignall said the club, in Back Market Street, Wibsey, is likely to call its accountant and members of the committee to give evidence.
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