Healthcare Training Academy Trial Begins & Is Postponed
12 Jun 2012
Another delay in the HTA Fraud Trial
The trial of the owners of the now defunct NVQ firm Healthcare Training Academy in Worcestershire has finally opened; and was postponed yet again.
Owners Michael Anthony Grice of Molesworth Drive in Bristol and Carole Grice of Strode Avenue, Clevedon in North Somerset are charged with 11 counts of breaching consumer fair trading laws and misleading actions brought under the 2008 Fair Trading Act between January 2005 and April 2009.
They had operated Healthcare Training Academy from premises at Kidderminster in Worcestershire while they were living together in Worcester.
Worcester Crown Court. Photo Credit: Philip Halling (2007)
This follows a raid by Worcester trading standards officers on the company premises in November 2009 where computers and paper files were seized.
The trial opened before His Honour Judge John Cavell at Court 3 in Worcester Crown Court and a jury was sworn in Monday only to be discharged on Wednesday by the judge.
However, on the second day of the trial, defendant Michael Grice complained of a problem, and was admitted to hospital where he underwent surgery.
The judge was then informed by Grice's defense counsel Emma Goodall that he [Grice] may require to remain in hospital for six weeks.
Judge Cavell then postponed the trial till February 2013.
Nicolas Cartwright, prosecution counsel for Worcestershire County Council Trading Standards, said the adjournment was unfortunate. Several of the witnesses are from the Philippines as well as other countries.
This is the second postponement of this trial. Earlier this year the trial had to be postponed when the Grice's separated their legal teams, leaving the trial judge with no option but to postpone.
The charges follow many complaints from people, mostly Filipinos, who had paid for training in NVQ subjcts and never received.
This action was taken after several complaints by Filipinos both in the UK and the Philippines made against HTA, when trading standards officers and other British government agencies began to investigate the case.
If convicted, the maximum penalty under the above legislation is a fine and up to 2 years imprisonment with compensation to any victim per offense.
HTA was osensibly set up as a NVQ training college and advertized as such in the Philippines and elsewhere, offering courses and paid employment mainly in the care industry.