Ex-housing boss has charges dropped

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A HOST of charges against a former housing company boss have been dropped.

John Finn, who headed up Pallion Housing group, was accused of 17 offences under the Housing Act.

They related to a property in Hylton Road, Sunderland, and alleged breaches of regulations governing multiple occupancy housing.

But at the city magistrates’ court, a solicitor representing Sunderland Council asked for case against the 40-year-old, from Newbottle, to be dropped.

Lynne Bennett told magistrates that at the time the premises in question were managed by Pallion Housing Group.

However, she said the company was likely to be wound-up after being in administration, and it was not in the public interest to continue the prosecution.

Also, Mr Finn was not legally able to be company director at the time of the alleged offences.

Miss Bennett said: “Mr Finn was charged with offences in his capacity as director of Pallion Housing.

“It was made clear that at the relevant time he was an undischarged bankrupt, and for that reason he could not be accountable as the director, so for that primary reason we wish to withdrawn charges against Mr Finn.”

Seventeen charges of aiding and abetting the breaches, made against Homemove Property Management, in Old Elvet, Durham City, and employee Paula Hewitt, 27, of Kepier Crescent, Durham, were also dropped.

Administrator Neil Matthews, whose business address was given as Deloitte, Broadchare, in Newcastle, had four charges against him withdrawn.

The court was told that he was the sole receiver for Pallion Housing’s former base in Hylton Road.

These prosecutions were also not deemed to be in the public interest.

The court heard that Homemove and its employee would have pleaded not guilty to the charges, as they had only advised Pallion Housing and not acted as property managers.

Miss Bennett said tenants had been moved out of address in Hylton Road and it still remained empty, with a prohibition notice in place.

Mr Finn was in court to hear the case against him withdrawn.

Representing him, Judith Mackenow said he “played no part” in letting out the property.

“It is not the sort of thing he would do and he understands the duty of a landlord,” she added.

“At the time he was bankrupt and could not play a role with a company in any event.

“He could not have been a party to this offence at all.”

Magistrates agreed the four defendants’ costs should be awarded out of central court funds.

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