The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) appears to have exposed hundreds of disabled people to the activities of a fraudster and convicted paedophile who posed as a lawyer to steal the money they were owed from discrimination claims.The Claims Management Regulator (CMR), part of the MoJ, failed to make basic checks on Karl Lindon, and his company Disability Claims Management (DCM), and dismissed complaints about his activities, because it was deceived into thinking DCM was a charity.Instead of shutting DCM down, CMR passed the complaints to the Charity Commission and Lambeth council, the local authority for the area of south London where Lindon’s business was based.This week, enquiries by Disability News Service (DNS) have begun to produce evidence of confusion, incompetence and apathy among the organisations – including CMR – that should have been protecting Lindon’s disabled victims.Those enquiries follow information provided by some of those defrauded by Lindon, and others who have supported and fought for his victims over the last seven years.Some of the regulators could now face legal action for failing to act on complaints made by disabled people who were defrauded by Lindon.A Ministry of Justice (MoJ) spokesman said that because DCM had been “operating as a charity”, its activities fell “outside the scope of the claims regulator”, and so CMR referred it to the Charity Commission and the local authority.He added later: “We investigated DCM but could not prove it was being run other than in accordance with its charitable purposes, as was set out to us.“We referred concerns about Disability Claims Management to the Charities (sic) Commission and local trading standards.”MoJ has so far been unable to explain how this was allowed to happen when DCM was never registered as a charity with the Charity Commission.And because Disability Claims Management had its application for charitable status turned down by the Charity Commission, Lindon’s actions fell outside its “jurisdiction as charity regulator”, a commission spokesman said.The commission has refused to say what action it took to alert other regulators and organisations to Lindon’s activities.Lambeth council admitted that its trading standards department had investigated “a number of complaints” about Lindon over “several years”.A Lambeth council spokesman said: “The fact that Lindon was able to set up in business posing as a legal expert and prey on vulnerable people, causing great distress and financial hardship despite his previous conviction and prison sentence, raises a number of questions about the gap between regulatory bodies that meant our powers as a local authority were limited.“We are now seeking to work with colleagues across those bodies to identify ways of improving co-ordination and partnership.“We are pleased he has been convicted and have every sympathy with his victims.” But Lambeth council also has outstanding questions to answer, and has so far been unable to explain why it failed to bring a halt to Lindon’s activities, and has refused to say how many complaints it received and which regulatory bodies it is referring to in its statement.The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) was also approached with concerns about Lindon on at least three occasions, but claims it was unable to act because it was shown no evidence that he was claiming to be a solicitor, which would have been a criminal offence and could have led to it taking a private prosecution against him.But in cases where it has no evidence of such activity, SRA does not have the powers to investigate, a spokesman said.Several police forces around the country are also believed to have been asked to investigate Lindon, but refused to do so, until Surrey police finally stepped in and brought him to justice.Last week, DNS reported how Lindon was jailed for three years after being found guilty by a jury at Guildford Crown Court of five counts of theft from disabled people, worth more than £50,000 in total.Surrey police said Lindon, 35, from Louvaine Road, Wandsworth, south-west London, had scammed “numerous” people out of money. But it has refused to say whether Lindon had a previous conviction for fraud.Lindon, a former Ministry of Defence press officer, had already been jailed for three years in 2007 and placed on the sex offenders register for life, after admitting distributing child pornography to an online network of paedophiles.After his release from prison, probably in 2009, he set up DCM, and began targeting disabled people who had suffered discrimination in provision of services and in the workplace.Disabled campaigners who fought for seven years to bring Lindon to justice believe he stole money from hundreds of disabled people across the country, through Disability Claims Management and other online organisations he set up.But they are furious that regulators such as the Charity Commission, SRA and CMR, as well as Lambeth trading standards, and many other local councils, failed to stop Lindon’s activities, despite being told he was a dangerous and manipulative conman.They are also critical of the police forces that refused to launch criminal investigations into his activities, and the charities whose names Lindon used to provide credibility and respectability for his company.Disabled activist Adam Lotun, who has fought for justice for himself and other victims of Lindon since 2010, said the Charity Commission only acted after repeated complaints and pressure exerted by himself and fellow disabled campaigner Mark White.He said it was only when he defended himself from a civil court action brought by Lindon, that – with the help of solicitors at legal firm Unity Law and barrister Andrew Hogan – he was able to “produce the irrefutable proof that Lindon was not qualified or regulated in any way to carry out any work in this area”.This information helped him win his case against Lindon, but he says the criminal justice system failed to use this information to warn regulatory bodies about the fraudster, although he spread it as widely as he could himself, including via social media.Lotun said: “This left Lindon to carry out his nefarious activities and continue to cause misery and distress to a great many people, until he was finally brought to book by Surrey police.”He said he believed the government should launch a public inquiry to discover how many people were defrauded by Lindon and DCM and “how many regulatory and statutory bodies failed to take action”.He said: “Everybody seemed to wait for somebody else to do something, but in the end nobody did anything, despite two particular individuals busting a gut and battling against their own disabling conditions to try to get anybody to listen to them and take action.”There are also concerns about how Lindon used well-known charities to provide a veneer of respectability for his company.Lindon suggested on his websites that his company donated significant sums of money to charities such as Guide Dogs and Middlesex Association for the Blind, while he claimed that he had received support from The Prince’s Trust.Some of his disabled victims were disappointed by the actions of disability charity Disablement Association Hillingdon (DASH), which directed them to Lindon when they asked for advice and support in dealing with disability discrimination.Angela Wegener, chief officer of DASH, said the charity had acted in “good faith at the time”.She said: “We wouldn’t recommend [Lindon]. We would say, ‘This is somebody who provides that sort of information.’“We wouldn’t recommend as such, we would suggest. ‘They are working in this field and seem to have the requisite qualifications.’”She added: “He seemed to have quite a good reputation from various people he had said he was working with. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.“It is very difficult if somebody is talking a good game. It is very difficult to know how to stop that happening.“Obviously we would be very, very careful before we even advised anyone that there was someone working in this field.“Certainly following [what happened with Lindon] we would be even more careful.”But one of Lindon’s victims, who was passed his details by DASH, said: “I do think DASH are accountable for a number of victims’ pain as we had never heard of Lindon until they provided us with his details without carrying out proper checks.”DASH was among those organisations and individuals that Lindon later threatened with legal action – including defamation – when they tried to raise concerns about his activities.Guide Dogs said it had received “a very small donation” from Lindon in 2010.A spokeswoman said: “Our immediate thoughts are with the people affected by his actions.”The charity has so far failed to answer further questions about how Lindon used his connection with the charity.Middlesex Association for the Blind has so far failed to respond to requests for a comment, as has The Prince’s Trust.Solicitor Chris Fry, of discrimination law experts Unity Law, who acted for Lotun in his case against Lindon, is now hoping to build a case against the regulators that failed Lindon’s victims.He is keen to hear from anyone who incurred a financial loss as a result of instructing Karl Lindon or Disability Claims Management to act for them, and who also has evidence that they lodged a complaint with any of the following organisations: the Law Society, SRA, the Ministry of Justice, the Claims Management Regulator, the Charity Commission, any individual charity, a trading standards department, or a police force.Fry can be contacted by email at [email protected] or by contacting Unity Law.
Month: July 2019
THEY may be separated by 12,000 miles but rival coaches the Steve McNamara and Brian McClennan are united by one shared emotion: the thrill of seeing 34 of the world’s most exciting players go head to head in the International Origin Match next month.For England coach McNamara, his experiences with his 32-strong Elite Training Squad at their recent camp at Loughborough University has heightened his sense of anticipation ahead of the titanic clash at Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds, on Friday June 10 (8.00).And for McClennan, who will fly in from his home in Auckland later this month to lead the Exiles, the opportunity to coach a team drawn from the elite Australian and New Zealand players in Engage Super League is becoming all consuming.“The camp went really well and it was clear from all we did that the players are fired up for this game. None of them want to miss the chance to play against the Exiles,” said McNamara.“The players like playing for England and especially playing for England in games that are a genuine test and this is certainly going to be one of them. There has been a lot spoken about how strong the Exiles team is but the England team is a very strong team as well and I’m really looking forward to it.”McClennan, who famously led New Zealand to Tri Nations glory before coaching Leeds Rhinos to two Grand Final victories at Old Trafford, is scheduled to arrive in this country in late May and has no doubts about what the International Origin Match means to Super League’s overseas stars.“I’m receiving calls virtually every day from squad members telling me how much they are looking forward to having a crack at England,” said McClennan.“This match has given a number of players a new lease of live and offered them an alternative outlet to focus their minds away from the rigours of the Engage Super League.“It will be a pleasure to coach some of the best talent on offer in Super League. The players never thought they would have the opportunity of playing representative football when they came to Europe so to be part of the first International Origin match is very rewarding.“We expect a real test from England – the match has the makings of being a classic and should be firmly part of the calendar for many years to come.“I know Steve McNamara will have his players fired up and they will leave nothing to chance. England needs this game so Steve can expose his players against the best.“From an Exiles point of view, we want to win the game. There is tremendous pride representing your nation and when Australia and New Zealand come together it provides a very powerful and emotive combination.”Whilst the make-up of the Exiles team is becoming clear through the revolutionary selection process, which has allowed fans to help McClennan pick his team, McNamara is giving nothing away about who will feature in his 17 man squad in less than a month’s time.England were boosted recently by the return to fitness of captain Jamie Peacock and Danny McGuire, both of whom missed the 2010 Four Nations after undergoing knee surgery, and injuries will inevitably play a part in McNamara’s thinking.However the national coach has no doubts that the pool of talent at his disposal has what it takes to meet the Exiles’ challenge head on.“If you take a group of players at the mid-point of the season there are going to be injuries and that’s the nature of the beast, but every player contributed in different ways to the camp and they’re all integrated into what we’re doing,” he said.“Lots of the guys are performing well so it will be interesting come selection time. We have a lot of competitive places and there will be a lot of hard decision to be made before we go into the game against The Exiles.”Pre-purchased tickets for the International Origin match start from £19 for adults and £12 for concessions and are available at www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk or by contacting the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 856 1113. Tickets purchased on the day of the match start from £22 for adults and £15 for concessions.
SAINTS were simply irresistible as they thrashed Hull KR 46-10 to progress in the playoffs.Nathan Brown’s side ran in eight tries in a clinical and emphatic display to set up an Elimination Semi Final at Leeds Rhinos next Friday.The damage was done in the first half as Saints scored six times to lead 34-4.Hull KR had taken advantage of a mistake in the first minute to get the ball rolling – but it was all one way traffic from there.Saints tore apart their opponents with Adam Swift picking up two tries whilst Francis Meli, Sia Soliola, Jordan Turner and Tommy Makinson grabbed the others in a breathtaking display.In the second half Lance Hohaia capped a great display with a quality score set up by James Roby before Swift crossed for his hat-trick.Craig Hall adding a late consolation for the visitors but it was only that.Saints named the same 17 that beat Hull FC last week but Josh Jones swapped places with Sia Soliola to take the loose forward berth.Hull KR had a number of players missing but welcomed back Michael Dobson as they aimed to beat their opponents for the fourth time this season.The Robins made all the early running as Saints lost the ball on their opening set and then were forced to take the ball behind their line.And Hull KR made the best of that repeat set by rapidly getting the ball out to Liam Slater who flew over in the corner.Dobson missed the conversion but a mistake in the middle of the park almost handed Saints an early reply.The visitors quelled the danger but on the next set Jonny Lomax quick feet and passing saw Francis Meli over for his 16th of the season.Jordan Turner putting Saints ahead with the conversion.On the 15 minute mark Saints stretched their advantage when they chanced their arm on the last. A cute chip right at the advantage line saw Adam Swift touchdown.Turner then made it an eight point game with a wonderful conversion from the touchline.And it got better as from the restart James Roby spotted a gap and sent Sia Soliola in from distance.Adam Swift was denied moments later and then Jonny Lomax saved a certain try as Alex Brown almost went the length of the field.Tommy Makinson and Swift evaded tackles in the 29th minute to slip Anthony Laffranchi in under the posts after some superb handling… but the video ref ruled a knock on in the build-up and was probably right.But on Saints’ next set Hohaia found a gap, broke through, drew the full back and sent Turner. Sheer class.Saints weren’t done either as with less than four minutes to go Tommy Makinson stretched over with one hand to increase the lead and then a chip over the top saw Lomax collect and get a superb pass away to Swift for his second.Kris Welham had one chalked off for obstruction early in the second half and had other chances before Saints crossed again.This time Roby picked one off his bootstraps, raced away and then set Hohaia free.Turner with his sixth conversion of the night.And Adam Swift got his hat-trick with 15 minutes to go as Roby linked with Lomax and Meli.Craig Hall tagged a late consolation but it was nothing more and Saints progress to the next round.Match Summary:Saints: Tries: Meli, Swift (3), Soliola, Turner, Makinson, HohaiaGoals: Turner (7 from 8)Hull KR: Tries: Salter, HallGoals: Dobson (1 from 2)Penalties:Saints: 2Hull KR: 3HT: 34-4FT: 46-10REF: Richard SilverwoodATT: TBCTeams:Saints:7. Jonny Lomax; 21. Tommy Makinson, 3. Jordan Turner, 5. Francis Meli, 26. Adam Swift; 12. Jon Wilkin, 6. Lance Hohaia; 11. Tony Puletua, 9. James Roby, 10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 13. Willie Manu, 4. Sia Soliola, 19. Josh Jones. Subs: 1. Paul Wellens, 14. Anthony Laffranchi, 16. Paul Clough, 25. Alex Walmsley.Hull KR:5. David Hodgson, 3. Kris Welham, 18. Liam Salter, 26. Alex Brown; 14. Lincoln Withers, 7. Michael Dobson; 23. Mickey Paea, 9. Josh Hodgson, 16. Adam Walker, 13. Rhys Lovegrove, 15. Graeme Horne, 11. Constantine Mika.Subs: 8. Evarn Tuimavave, 20. Jordan Cox, 24. James Green, 25. George Griffin.
SAINTS endured a frustrating afternoon as they bowed out of the Challenge Cup 32-12 at Leeds.The Rhinos were clinical throughout and didn’t allow the visitors a foothold in the match to book their place in the Quarter Finals.Adam Swift levelled in the first half for Saints before Josh Jones gave them hope in the second.But all too often Saints were left chasing shadows and they now must regroup to get back into the winning groove.Saints were six points down at half time and although they didn’t have the bulk of the possession and territory they could have been aggrieved at both the Rhinos’ scores.Zak Hardaker’s tries came from contentious calls – but Leeds were ruthlessly clinical – as was the way they played out their sets.Kevin Sinfield added a penalty early in the second half before Joel Moon finished off a great Carl Ablett break.Saints replied through Josh Jones but McGuire’s try after a great break and Jamie Peacock’s plunge over in the final stages handed Leeds the spoils.Both sides were as near to full strength as they could get with Saints welcoming back Kyle Amor alongside Jonny Lomax, James Roby, Luke Walsh and Alex Walmsley for the big match.Nathan Brown opted for Jon Wilkin at 6 instead of Lance Hohaia, whilst Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook moved into the second row.Leeds made just two changes from the side that beat Salford on Monday – and they were on the up from the off.Saints’ starts have been poor in recent weeks and once again they failed to control the ball from the kick off.Walmsley lost the ball in the first tackle to put his side under immense pressure – but they held on.Leeds then were given a drop out when the referee claimed Josh Jones had touched the ball on a clearing Rob Burrow kick.It was very harsh – as the replays showed – but Leeds made Saints suffer as Zak Hardaker put down under pressure.Sinfield with the extras.Saints hit back with two towering bombs from Wilkin and Walsh but they found the try-scorer with very safe hands.In the 13th minute it did click for the visitors though. There wasn’t a lot on but Mark Percival broke down the left and fed Adam Swift who showed great speed to go over in the corner.Walsh with the extras.Leeds had one chalked off five minutes later as Walsh lost the ball in the tackle but McGuire’s effort was disallowed because he stole the ball and knocked on.Although they were level after 20 minutes, Saints hadn’t had a lot of the ball and territory. Leeds were completing their sets and forcing their opposition to come off their own line.Tommy Makinson scooted down the left – opting to kick inside rather than challenging the full back – and then Leeds forced their third drop out of the match.Saints were up to it though and almost profited when Sia Soliola combined with Percival for a real scoring opportunity.But it was Leeds who struck at the dying embers of the half.Sadly, it came on the back of another poor call from the referee as Makinson was adjudged to have knocked on when the ball clearly went backwards.In fact, the winger passed it backwards as he was being dragged into touch.But, from the scrum the Rhinos fed the ball left and Hardaker found Saints defence wanting againSinfield made it 12-6 to the hosts at half time before he landed a penalty four minutes into the second.Joel Moon scored after a great break from Carl Ablett on 50 minutes but a nice delayed pass from Jonny Lomax put Josh Jones in under the posts.It was a timely marker as another Leeds score would have seen the game beyond Brown’s men.Walsh combined with Lomax to almost unlock the defence and later, he found a great ball to LMS who almost went clear.Walsh’s 40:20 put them in good field position as the game entered the final ten minutes and then a crossing penalty handed them more sets.Saints couldn’t find the execution though and seconds later Danny McGuire polished off a great performance from the Rhinos.Jamie Peacock crashing over at the death.Brian McDermott said the scoreline flattered Leeds a little but no-one could really be in any doubt as to who was the better side. Match Summary:Leeds: Tries: Hardaker (2), Moon, McGuire, PeacockGoals: Sinfield (6 from 6)Saints: Tries: Swift, JonesGoals: Walsh (2 from 2)Penalties: Leeds: 4Saints: 4HT: 6-12FT: 12-32REF: Richard SilverwoodATT: 12194Teams:Leeds:1. Zak Hardaker; 20. Tom Briscoe, 3. Kallum Watkins, 4. Joel Moon, 5. Ryan Hall; 13. Kevin Sinfield, 6. Danny McGuire; 8. Kylie Leuluai, 7. Rob Burrow, 10. Jamie Peacock, 12. Carl Ablett, 19. Mitch Achurch, 15. Brett Delaney.Subs: 17. Ian Kirke, 18. Chris Clarkson, 21. Liam Sutcliffe, 23. Brad Singleton.Saints: 1. Jonny Lomax; 2. Tommy Makinson, 3. Jordan Turner, 22. Mark Percival, 5. Adam Swift; 12. Jon Wilkin, 7. Luke Walsh; 16. Kyle Amor, 9. James Roby, 18. Alex Walmsley, 11. Sia Soliola, 10. Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, 4. Josh Jones.Subs: 8. Mose Masoe, 17. Paul Wellens, 23. Joe Greenwood, 27. Greg Richards.