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Community service for 'ruined' JP.

A disgraced Midland magistrate and former council leader ruined his life because he fiddled petty cash vouchers, a court heard yesterday.

Peter van Hagen (58) was ordered to serve 120 hours' community service as a "penance for your foolishness" and to pay pounds 120 costs.

Van Hagen, of Blackthorn Avenue, Chasetown, near Cannock, appeared for sentence at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

He was convicted by Walsall magistrates last month of seven charges of false accounting involving pounds 33.95 between October 1997 and October last year while working as a senior housing officer at Brownhills Neighbourhood office, Walsall.

Van Hagen was leader of Lichfield District Council between May 1995 until November last year when he resigned after 22 years as a councillor. He was also a Lichfield magistrate for 15 years.

"One is almost at a loss as to what to say," said Mr John Whitfield, defending. "He has destroyed himself.

Judge Desmond Perrett QC told van Hagen: "This has been a personal tragedy for you.

"You have lost important positions and have suffered public disgrace."
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:May 7, 1999
Words:175
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