Trio set to stand trial over missing £1m

THREE people, including a solicitor from Catsfield, are to stand trial next year after nearly £1m went missing from client accounts.

Simon Kenny, 57, Emma Coates, 44, and Stephen Hiseman, 57, are charged with diverting clients’ funds into their own bank accounts.

The trio allegedly embezzled £900,000 from CK Solicitors in Selsey, West Sussex, by creating bogus invoices and making fraudulent money transfers.

Southwark Crown Court heard the events led to the firm’s closure and a major investigation by the Sussex Police major fraud unit.

Kenny, dressed smartly in a light grey suit, and Coates, wearing a black blazer over a white blouse appeared in the dock for a preliminary hearing last Thursday (August 7).

The pair are jointly charged with false accounting between July 4, 2006 and January 15, 2007 and fraud by abuse of position between January 15, 2007 and May 31, 2011.

Hiseman, who was excused from last week’s brief hearing, is charged alongside Kenny and Coates with fraud by abuse of position between January 1, 2008 and March 15, 2011.

Judge Alistair McCreath said the three face a prospective trial date on September 28 next year.

Coates, who was the only defendant formally arraigned on Thursday, denied the charges against her.

Granting Kenny and Coates bail, Judge McCreath added that the pair will return to court alongside Hiseman for the next plea hearing on September 12.

He said: “Both of you are free to go on similar bail conditions as before.

“You are to return to court for the next case management hearing on September 12.”

Kenny, of Old Hunt Stables in Catsfield, is yet to enter pleas to false accounting and two counts of fraud by abuse of position.

Coates of West Street in Selsey, West Sussex, denies false accounting and two counts of fraud by abuse of position.

Hiseman, of Morzine, France, is yet to enter a plea to one charge of fraud by abuse of position.