On 18 December 2019, Mr Bell, the former financial director and acting CEO of Guralp Systems Ltd (‘GSL’) was unanimously acquitted by a jury of a single charge of conspiracy to make corrupt payments. His fellow co-defendants were also subsequently acquitted on 20 December 2019. Today, the Serious Fraud Office has publicly disclosed that GSL entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (“DPA”) in October 2019 in relation to allegations of corruption and failure to prevent bribery.
These acquittals mean that the GSL case joins Tesco and Sarclad where a company has entered into a DPA on the basis of untested evidence, which when subsequently and properly examined by a jury, has resulted in the human defendants being acquitted.
Mr Bell has endured over three years of extreme pressure as a result of these allegations where the evidence against him was so weak such that applications were made to dismiss the charge against him before trial and to stop the case against him at the conclusion of the prosecution case. We are delighted for Mr Bell that the jury came to the same unanimous conclusion about him and the evidence.
Mr Bell was represented by Neil Hawes QC of Charter Chambers and Paul Morgan of Birds Solicitors instructed by Steven Bird of Birds Solicitors.