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Officials on fraud charges.

Three court officials charged in connection with a pounds 19,000 fraud have appeared before magistrates.

Chief clerk Stephen Rowbottom, 49, ex-deputy clerk Edmond Cleary, 50, and principal administration manager Pamela Davison, 54, were suspended from their jobs at Sunderland Magistrates' Court in March.

They are each charged with misconduct in a public office, Westminster Magistrates' Court in London was told yesterday. Rowbottom, of Wandsdyke, Morpeth, Northumberland, Cleary, of Mitford Close, Oxclose, Washington, and Davison, of Mann Crescent, Murton, County Durham, are charged with misusing public cash in connection with an undeclared Bradford & Bingley account.

Davison also faces another count of misconduct in a public office, one of false accounting and three counts of furnishing false information. The charges relate to activity between April 2001 and November 2005. Rowbottom took over as chief clerk to the justices more than five years ago and Mr Cleary has advised Sunderland magistrates since the early 1990s.

Crown Prosecution guidelines say the misconduct in a public office charge refers to public officers who wilfully neglect to perform their duty or wilfully misconduct themselves, amounting to an abuse of the public's trust.

They were all given unconditional bail to appear at London's Southwark Crown Court on January 9.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 20, 2006
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