Success for Adam Smith as client acquitted of bribery charges

Adam Smith, partner in the Hempsons Regulatory and Crime London team, represented Noel Staunton throughout an NHS Counter Fraud Authority (NHS CFA) investigation over the last six years.

On Friday 4 March, Mr Staunton was acquitted of the two bribery charges brought against him, related to the placement of medicines within the NHS. Assisted by trainee solicitor Clara Gogarty, and instructing Fiona Horlick QC of Outer Temple Chambers, this was the culmination of a six-week trial at Southampton Crown Court. Mr Staunton had always maintained his innocence. He was one of four people on trial, all of whom were acquitted of all charges.

The case was very complex, particularly regarding disclosure, with the need to scrutinise hundreds of thousands of documents and communications dating back around 20 years. The diligence and hard work of the entire team, including Mr Staunton, contributed significantly to bringing about, at the end of the prosecution case at trial, a review by the prosecution of the available evidence and its disclosure to the defendants, following which the Crown offered no evidence in the case and Mr Staunton and the others on trial were found by the jury not guilty of all charges.

It was clear that Mr Staunton was held in high esteem by those with whom he had worked over the years, both from within the NHS and the private pharmaceutical industry. In addition, he had significant support from the Pharmacists’ Defence Association. Understandably, the last few years have been a stressful and anxious time for Mr Staunton and his family, and Adam and Clara are delighted to have been integral parts of the team which secured this extremely positive outcome for him.