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Judge given suspended sentence after admitting planning frauds

Deputy district judge Keith Shaw admitted making up letters from members of the public in support of his own planning applications.

A “narcissistic” deputy district judge who tried to use his knowledge of the law to try to subvert the planning process has admitted a series of frauds.

Solicitor Keith Shaw, 37, of Sleights, Whitby, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday, where he admitted offences dating between 2012 and 2015, North Yorkshire Police said.

Shaw was given a 20-week jail sentence, suspended for two years, and was ordered to pay £2,747 in compensation and £7,285 in costs, according to the force.

He was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.

North Yorkshire Views

Scarborough Borough Council reported concerns to the police in 2015 that the deputy district judge had applied for planning permission to develop land at several locations around Whitby, supported by letters from the public which were actually written by him.

It emerged that correspondence he submitted used the names and addresses of other people without their permission.

Shaw also falsely claimed a refund of £2,747 in relation to surveyors’ fees when buying an area of land in Sleights.

He had claimed that due to a delay in the sale completing he had been charged for a survey that did not go ahead, which was not the case.

Detective Inspector Jon Hodgeon, Head of Economic Crime and Major Fraud at North Yorkshire Police, said: “Keith Shaw is a highly qualified judge who used his enhanced knowledge of the legal system to commit crime and deceive a number of public sector organisations.

“He is a narcissistic individual who thought he could use his position to defraud others for personal gain.

“It is important we catch professionals such as Shaw as it sends a clear message that no-one is above the law.

“This was a particularly complex investigation lasting 18 months and I praise the diligence and professionalism of the investigation team.

“I also extend my thanks to the many partners and witnesses involved in this case for their support.”

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