Mr James Devine
I refer to my above named constituent and the case brought against his for theft by false accounting.
I have been aware of Mr Devine's case since May 2009 when he sought assistance from me after a publication of his shelving requirements was published in the Daily Telegraph. It was clear at the time that he recognised the serious nature of the matter he was facing and that it would be necessary to report himself to the police to prove his innocence, and that he had not obtained the money unlawfully.
For a number of years Mr Devine has suffered from low self-esteem mainly associated with his predecessor; he has a office staff, including a job under five years old; and he is heavily involved in the community. All of these aspects of his life have been significantly impacted upon by the mistake he has made.
Mr Devine has denied his wrongdoing and has experienced the consequences of through the loss of his job and withholding of his severance pay, the distress caused to his office staff and his standing in his community. He has advised me that he was merely shifting the £5,500 from his stationary account to his staffing account and has said, since he first sought my advice, that he will sell his interest in his property in London to settle back in Scotland.
He and his, well ok maybe not his office staff, are anxious that a custodial sentence may be imposed by the court and of the further affect this will have on Mr Devine's wealth and the impact on his personal life. I would appeal to the court to take the points raised here into account and consider alternatives to a custodial sentence.
Member for Livingston