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Ex-Norfolk policeman Ben Staff has £140,000 fraud conviction appeal thrown out

PUBLISHED: 09:44 28 October 2017 | UPDATED: 09:39 29 October 2017

Ben Staff leaving Norwich magistrates court.
 Photo: Angela Sharpe
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Ben Staff leaving Norwich magistrates court. Photo: Angela Sharpe .

Archant © 2008

An ex-policeman turned conman has failed in a bid to overturn his convictions for cheating a former business partner out of £140,000.

Benjamin Shaun Staff carried out a string of frauds in the building trade, netting himself a total of £1 million which he spent on a lavish lifestyle.

The 38-year-old, of Lucas Court, Norwich, was jailed for four-and-a-half years at Norwich Crown Court in January.

He had been found guilty of committing various fraud offences between 2009 and 2013 following two trials last year.

In March he was found guilty of three counts of fraud, two of false accounting, two of converting criminal property and one of fraudulent trading.

Then, in December, he was convicted of fraud and converting criminal property - relating to £140,000 which had been paid to him by Alex Sexton in 2012.

Mr Sexton believed the money - which represented most of his savings - was to fund a business venture.

But in fact it was paid into Staff’s personal bank accounts and the business did not exist.

Mr Sexton only discovered the truth in 2014, after Staff was arrested following a police investigation into his financial affairs.

Staff’s crimes were unearthed initially thanks to an in-depth investigation by the EDP.

Staff, who quit the Norfolk Constabulary and set up his first firm in 2008, on Friday challenged his most recent convictions at the Court of Appeal.

His lawyers argued that jurors at his trial in December should not have been told that he had been found guilty of various offences at his trial in March.

They said the previous convictions were different in nature and had the effect of causing “overwhelming prejudice” to his defence case.

But, dismissing his appeal, Mr Justice Holroyde said the decision to let jurors hear about the earlier convictions was a matter for the trial judge.

Sitting with Mr Justice Jay and Judge Adele Williams, he added: “In our judgment it is perfectly clear that the learned judge was alive to the relevant factors.

“We are satisfied that the convictions are safe and this appeal accordingly fails.”

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