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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 September 2007, 11:39 GMT 12:39 UK
'No sex' benefits fine is quashed
Jayne Taleb
Taleb said the only relationship she had with her partner was as parents
A woman who falsely claimed nearly 40,000 in benefits because she said she was not having sex with her live-in partner has had her 60,000 fine overturned.

The Court of Appeal said Jayne Taleb, 45, from Cyncoed, Cardiff, could never have paid the "manifestly excessive" fine on her 150-a-week earnings.

She had admitted false accounting and fraudulently claiming tax benefit.

But she will still have to repay the 37,377 she falsely claimed.

But the appeal judges substituted the additional 60,000 fine for a conditional discharge for a period of two years.

Lord Justice Hooper was told that Taleb was being offered a loan by her mother to repay the benefits, which she had claimed as a singe mother.

The basis on which the fines were imposed no longer apply and the fines imposed were manifestly excessive
Mr Justice Pitchford at the Court of Appeal

The judges had been told that no steps had been taken by the tax authorities to recover the money from the sale of a house in Lisvane, Cardiff, where Taleb had lived with her boyfriend Tony Harvey and their children.

Taleb had told Cardiff Crown Court in February that she thought Mr Harvey's income did not count when she first filled in the forms for tax credit in 2000 as they were not living together.

She said she had no interest in the house she shared with Mr Harvey, their three children and her child by a different father, despite paying him 43,000 when they first moved in.

She said the money was to ensure Mr Harvey would always provide a home for the daughter that was not his.

Their relationship was that of parents to the three children, one conceived while they were in a relationship and the other two on the only other two occasions she slept with him, she had told the court.

The house in Lisvane, Cardiff
The house where Taleb had lived with her partner and their children

Their relationship ended after their first son was born in 1994, she said.

Recorder Mark Evans QC had told her at Cardiff Crown Court: "It seems you and Mr Harvey were living as man and wife. Quite what the sexual relationship was between you is irrelevant and I will not begin to speculate."

Mr Justice Pitchford, giving the appeal ruling, said Mr Harvey, as the sole legal owner, had sold the home in Lisvane and the whereabouts of the proceeds were not known.

"Accordingly the basis on which the fines were imposed no longer apply and the fines imposed were manifestly excessive," he said.

"It seems to us that these fines cannot stand having regard to the limited means available to the parent and it seems to us that imposing a fine is not the appropriate course to take."

Taleb had admitted five charges of false accounting and two charges of fraudulently claiming tax benefit.

'No sex' mother's benefit fraud
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