The former chief executive of the Priory Federation of Academies Richard Gilliland today insisted it was not inappropriate for his son to be employed by the organisation despite him having served a jail sentence for flashing.
Gilliland, who spent a fourth day in the witness box, told the jury at Lincoln Crown Court that his son Kia Richardson was not barred from working in schools as his convictions for outraging public decency were classified as public order matters rather than sexual offences.
The jury has heard that Mr Richardson was twice convicted of outraging public decency, both matters involving flashing at women, and was jailed for the second of those offences. He also had convictions for drink driving and possession of heroin as well as cautions for another drugs matter and shoplifting.
Mr Richardson was initially taken on to work at a proposed equestrian centre the Federation planned for Ropsley but the deal to buy those premises fell through. The organisation instead purchased a similar centre at Laughton Manor near Sleaford which was used as an “alternative curriculum centre”. Mr Richardson was appointed yard manager and lived on site until he quit following an investigation into his part carried out by the News of the World.
Under cross-examination from prosecuting barrister David Allan, the former chief executive told the jury: “You start with the premise that he was unsuitable. I don’t accept he was unsuitable. As far as I was concerned there was no issue.
“The fact is that in 2008 he had made a conscious decision to turn his life around and he did so brilliantly.
“I knew the convictions were for public order offences and that they were not offences that attracted a bar.”
Gilliland said he had no part in the decision to employ his son and denied a prosecution claim that he hid the results of his son’s Criminal Records Bureau check.
Mr Allan suggested that Kia Richardson was employed in a job he was not capable of doing and claimed that he had been “set up to fail” by being given the post of yard manager. But Gilliland responded: “There is no way I would put my son in such a situation. There is no way I would have allowed him to be in a situation where he could fail.”
Richard Gilliland, 64, who now lives in Spain, has denied seven charges of fraud by abuse of position on dates between October 2008 and November 2011.
The PFA’s former finance director Stephen Davies, 58, of Abingdon Avenue, Lincoln, denies three charges of fraud by abuse of position.
The trial was adjourned and will resume in the New Year.