Tory MP cleared of bribery charges

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The Independent Online
A CONSERVATIVE MP was formally acquitted of bribery charges and awarded his defence costs by a judge at the Old Bailey yesterday.

The prosecution offered no evidence against Harry Greenway, MP for Ealing North, on seven charges that he accepted bribes from Plasser Railway Machinery (GB) and two of its executives to use his parliamentary influence on their behalf.

Mr Justice Buckley said he had 'no hesitation in ordering verdicts of not guilty to be entered'. He also formally cleared Plasser and its managing director and company secretary, Norbert Jurasek and Michael Brooks, of corruption charges.

Afterwards, Mr Greenway said he was 'relieved that this unjustified case is at last over and justice has been done'.

The decision to drop the case followed the collapse of a separate British Rail bribery trial which did not involve Mr Greenway. In that trial, which lasted nine weeks, Plasser and Jurasek and Brooks were acquitted of corruption on the judge's order.

Mr Justice Buckley said then that the evidence 'simply does not amount to or justify the way the case was presented'.

Outside court, Mr Greenway said no one could realise the stress a prospective trial put on a person, their family, friends - 'and in my case my constituents'. He thanked his constituency association for its support, and his constituents, who had re-elected him.

Mr Greenway, 58, a former teacher, was arrested after a British Transport Police investigation into allegations of corruption involving BR and Plasser, an Austrian company with UK operations based in west London.

The charges included an allegation that Mr Greenway accepted air tickets as a bribe to assist an application by Mr Jurasek for British nationality. He was also alleged to have accepted bribes to influence the appointment of the chairman of the British Railways Board.

Costs of the investigation and both court proceedings are estimated to total nearly pounds 5m.

Mr Greenway said he was 'enormously surprised' when the case was brought. 'I have never doubted I would be vindicated.'

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