A message from Judge Johnson to the jury in the sensational trial of former aides/au pair Elisabetta Grillo and her sister Francesca Grillo, facing charges of credit card fraud, to ignore comments made by the British Prime Minister made in a press interview stating that he was a “massive fan” of celebrity cook, Nigella Lawson, make it abundantly clear that British Courts take matters of contempt seriously. Although Downing Street declined to respond, a source said that Prime Minister Cameron’s comments referred to Ms. Lawson and the fact that he was a fan of her cooking and had nothing to do with the defendants or the court case at hand.
Sisters Elisabetta and Francesca Grillo each deny their charges of committing fraud by spending a total of £685,000 using company credit cards belonging to Ms. Lawson and her husband Charles Saatchi while in their employ during the period January 2008 through December 2012, to purchase designer goods and take luxury holidays. The jury also heard evidence from Elisabetta Grillo, who told the Isleworth Crown Court about her findings of a rolled-up banknote and credit cards with white powder. Although Ms. Grillow claims she never saw Ms. Lawson taking any illegal drugs nor did she confront her about the issue to avoid embarrassing her. Ms. Lawson denies hiding any cocaine, although admits she has used the Class A drug in the past. The trial is ongoing.
The Judge’s comments warning the jurors to decide the case only on the basis of evidence presented in the courtroom reminds us all that what public figures say and feel must not have any bearing on cases coming before the London criminal court system in order to insure a defendant’s right to a fair trial. Whether you are a celebrity, someone of notoriety or just an average subject of the Crown, if you are accused of a criminal offense of credit card fraud or other crimes in London, you have certain rights that you should be aware of including:
- The right to face your accuser in a court of law
- The presumption of innocence until otherwise proven
- The right to a London solicitor/barrister to defend you
- The right to a fair trial
London Criminal Defense Team
Since English criminal statutes and common laws are complex, it is important to make sure you work with an experienced criminal defense team to represent your interests. A team who understands how to protect your rights, reputation and privacy from the London media and sensational journalism can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case and ensure you receive a fair and just trial.