Page last updated at 05:01 GMT, Friday, 29 May 2009 06:01 UK

Mother in court over school place

Mrinal Patel
Mrinal Patel denies having acted dishonestly

A mother is to appear in court accused of lying about her address in order to gain a place for her five-year-old son at a popular infant school.

Mrinal Patel, from London, is thought to be the first parent prosecuted in this way under the Fraud Act.

Harrow Council said it was prosecuting her reluctantly, but that the admissions system had to be seen to be fair to all parents.

Mrs Patel says she made the application in good faith and denies fraud.

Fairness

She applied to the popular Pinner Park First School, which received 411 applications for 90 available places this September.

Harrow Council says it allocates places to children living closest to the school, up to a maximum distance of 0.685 miles.

Mrs Patel will appear at Harrow Magistrates' Court on Friday afternoon accused of false representation under the Fraud Act 2006.

She denies making a fraudulent application.

The leader of Harrow Council, David Ashton, said the prosecution had been brought with great reluctance.

"Our first duty is to ensure that the admissions system is scrupulously fair and seen to be so," he said.



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