Anton trial set for October

By Max Goldbart, Friday 04 August 2017

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Five former directors of Anton Group on trial for Cheating the Public Revenue have had their bail extended and the trial has been scheduled for October.

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The directors appeared at Southwark Crown Court yesterday (3 August)

In a Plea and Trial Preparation Hearing (PTPH) at Southwark Crown Court yesterday (3 August), presiding Judge Deborah Taylor confirmed a timetable delivered and agreed upon by solicitors for the prosecution and the defendants.

A judge will be appointed to the case in September and the prosecution and defence will then notify the court with any pleas or notice of dismissal by 7 October. Evidence will need to be prepared by mid-to-late September and all the material provided. 

The plea hearing will then most likely take place on 16 or 17 October.   

Taylor said: “The case is in a more advanced state than we would normally expect 28 days after arraignment but I accept that not all the material is included so I would concede that a longer period would assist both parties. However, I don’t want this to drift off until mid-November.”

The five men charged were all present and confirmed their names. They are: 65-year-old Stephen Knight and 72-year-old John Knight, both of Billericay, Essex; 55-year-old Paul Murphy and 51-year-old Phillip Sach, both of Chelmsford, and 67-year-old Brian Thomas, of Dengie, Southminster. The men were charged at Westminster Magistrates Court on 29 June, with today’s hearing initially slated for last Thursday.

All five resigned as directors of Anton Group on 1 October 2014, when the company was sold to the Anton Employee Ownership Trust (AEOT) for £14.3m.

The nature of the charges are still not clear but PrintWeek understands they relate to historic non-payment of tax relating to the sale of waste paper and used printing plates from before 2013.

£36.5m-turnover Anton Group fell into administration in March this year and ceased trading a month later with a creditors' shortfall of almost £13.4m. At the time of its collapse it employed 315 staff.

Please note: Due to the ongoing nature of the court case, comments on this article have been disabled.

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