The Serious Fraud Office’s (SFO) case against two DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary partners collapsed last month after Nottingham Crown Court dismissed all charges against the pair.
Manchester partners Andrew Harris and Anthony Winterburn were charged in March 2004 with conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. Harris was also charged with perjury. However, at a hearing at Nottingham Crown Court on 17 May, the charges were dismissed.
DLA Piper stood by the pair and last week the firm characterised the result as a vindication. “We’re very pleased. We were 100 per cent satisfied our partners were innocent and that’s why we stood by them,” a DLA Piper spokesperson said.
DLA Piper represented the partners throughout the investigation, but transferred the matter to Pannone & Partners crime head Paul Taylor after the charges were laid.
They have three months from 17 May to apply for a costs order against the SFO.
Harris and Winterburn have remained on the firm’s payroll since the charges were laid, although both were removed from client work. Sources at DLA Piper said they will now be permitted to return to fee-earning.