Filmed driving miniature locomotives, despite claiming he needed round-the-clock care
The former lawyer Alan Blacker, aka Lord Harley, has been handed a nine-month suspended jail term after being found guilty of benefit fraud.
The 47-year-old, who first hit headlines in 2014 following a bust-up with a judge at Cardiff Crown Court, dishonestly claimed Disability Living Allowance for five years, stealing £23,127 from the taxpayer, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said in a statement this afternoon.
The CPS said the colourful ex-lawyer had claimed he was “unable to walk without physical support from another person”, “required personal care from another person at all times during the day and night” and “could not manage steps or stairs”.
But footage gathered by the Department for Work and Pensions showed Blacker moving relatively freely, driving miniature locomotives, taking part in training sessions with the Sea Cadets and navigating Cardiff Crown Court while representing a client.
CPS Mersey Cheshire’s Fraud Unit welcomes the sentencing of former lawyer Alan Blacker for benefit fraud. Blacker said he couldn’t walk without help but was spotted driving a miniature locomotive.https://t.co/CRqCvg6iUT Blacker climbing steps without help pic.twitter.com/KoB9qt9OAp
— CPS Mersey-Cheshire (@cpsmersey) January 10, 2020
Blacker, who was struck off in 2016 after multiple misconduct charges were proven, was found guilty on 26 November 2019 following a trial at Manchester Crown Court of making a false representation to obtain a benefit. The jury failed to reach a verdict on a further count of dishonestly failing to notify a change in circumstances.
Blacker was sentenced to nine months in prison, suspended for a year.
Rob Girvan, of the CPS Mersey Cheshire Fraud Unit, said: “At one point during this investigation, Alan Blacker was working as an advocate in Cardiff Crown Court, moving around the building with ease and climbing stairs, while claiming benefits aimed at people who are ‘virtually unable to walk’”.
He continued: “He had several hobbies and interests, most of them requiring a degree of mobility which he said he didn’t have. The Crown Prosecution Service built a strong case against Alan Blacker and the jury agreed with us that he made deliberate, dishonest representations about his capabilities. This money is much needed by many genuine claimants throughout the country and people like Blacker put dishonest demands on an already stretched public purse.”