May 19 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Model and TV presenter Donna Air was acquitted of fraud today by a jury that took just 20 minutes to reach its verdict.
Air thanked the jury at Isleworth Crown Court in west London as she left the dock.
Following her acquittal, defence barrister Benn Maguire told the court the trial had caused Air pain and heartache, and she had not been able to travel to America since the fraud charge had been brought.
The court heard that she had applied for a parking permit in the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, despite already having a permit for the City of Westminster.
It is against council regulations for a person to have two permits for the same vehicle in different London boroughs, the court was told.
Mr Maguire told the jury it seemed to be the “year for prosecuting celebrities”.
He cited Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp’s trial earlier this year and asked whether it was a coincidence that Air was being prosecuted.
He told the court that he expected “there was not a great deal going on in Miss Air’s head at the time she signed the form”.
“I hope she will not criticise me too severely but I expect there was not a great deal going on in Miss Air’s head but hot air,” the barrister said.
He told the jury that the decision by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to prosecute Air for a criminal offence was “nothing short of a disgrace”.
He said: “It is, in my submission, a disgraceful waste of public funds to bring this case to this court.”