Hi, this is the first time to this site and I need help, i just dont know where to turn. My boyfriend is being taken to court for claiming carers allowance while working and being paid over the maximum £95 limit. He is being done under section 111A (a) and (3) of the SSAA 1992 (stating dishonestly) rather than 112 (without dishonesty). (And also Section 15A (1) and (5) of the Theft Act 1968. The thing is he didnt even know there was a limit of earnings. A close family member said that he was elligible and actually filled out the form for him (the difference in writing is clear to see on the form). He then just signed it and the family member then sent it off.
My boyfriend moved in with his mother who was and is still seriously ill 5 years ago, leaving his job and home in another city. He took over the family business at the same time took wages of £140 per week and has never increased this (This is well below that of what he had earned before and actually if you add up the hours he does it is so far below that of minimum wage it is unbelievable.)
At the time of putting in the claim he was under incredible stress due to everything that was going on. I can not understand how they think that he did this knowingly. I have checked on the web and see "Where an offence under s111A is alleged the prosecution must prove dishonesty and that the offender himself realised that he was behaving dishonestly by the standards of ordinary and decent people (the Ghosh test)." (from accountingevidence . com)
He had made a terrible judgement of error in trusting a close member of the family to act on his behalf and not checking before sending the form but he certainly didnt do it with any intent or knowledge. Actually as soon as he had notice last year that this had come to light (and it only did so because he was made a partner in the family business) we went on the web together and checked the entitlements as we couldnt believe that his close member of the family had not known this.
I understand that upon signing the form he was signing that everything was correct and he does accept that but his neglect was not due to him wanting to be deceitful or trying to hide something. He has always said that had it not been for the close member of the family saying that he was entitled to this then he would never have claimed as he cant be bothered with the forms.
I am so scared for him as I know he is a good man, with a good standing within the local community. If he pleads guilty then it is like he is admiting he was dishonest and did this on purpose which he did not. If he pleads not guilty then are they going to throw the book at him? I cant see why the DWP couldnt see and hear this when they took his statement last year. He is set to go to Magistrates court next month. I just dont know what to expect or do. The fact that we have a young baby, we live with his mother and care for her, and there is the family business that can not run without him. What if they put him in jail? Even the thought of having a criminal record is distroying him. I dont know where to turn and what we should do. Please please please, if you have any advise let me know.