Gosport festival organiser cleared of fraud speaks out after trial

Paul Cobb
Paul Cobb
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A COMPANY director has told of the ‘insurmountable stress’ he suffered after being accused of fraud.

Paul Cobb, 38, was charged with nine counts of fraud totalling about £600.

Knowing you’re innocent and having the evidence to prove it is frustrating and has been of little comfort these past two years

Paul Cobb

But a jury took less than an hour to find him not guilty on all counts at Portsmouth Crown Court on Friday.

During the trial the judge said Mr Cobb, who named a number of people who he said were out to get him, had said ‘to a greater or lesser extent those individuals are identified as people who... have it in for him’.

In defence, Mr Cobb said he was the victim of a fraud.

Mr Cobb, who has no convictions, said: ‘This marks the end of what can best be described as a 23-month long vendetta that has caused insurmountable stress to my family and harm to my business.’

He added: ‘It took the jury of 12 around half-an-hour to return a unanimous verdict of not guilty, a very, very quick decision.

‘I am thankful to the jury for seeing the case and evidence, or lack thereof, for what it was.

‘It has taken this long to get in front of a judge and jury due to the police and CPS intentionally dragging their heels.

‘In nearly two years they produced no evidence of any wrongdoing by me to substantiate the accusations made. ‘

As the jury returned the nine not guilty verdicts, Mr Cobb kept his head bowed while jurors smiled at him.

The court heard he had allegedly ordered items in catalogues under other people’s names. But in finding him not guilty, the jury cleared him of any wrongdoing.

Mr Cobb, of Mabey Close, Gosport, gave evidence during the five-day trial.

He added: ‘Knowing you’re innocent and having the evidence to prove it is frustrating and has been of little comfort these past two years, as accusations like these are made and bandied about publicly by those that would, and indeed have, caused me and my family considerable stress and harm.

‘Whilst the case itself was painfully distressing, it was a relief to finally clear my name once and for all.’

The court heard that David Smith, a former Gosport councillor who ran Gosport Festivals Limited with Mr Cobb, was one of the people who may ‘have it in’ for him.

Another was Mark Quainton-Davis, who jurors were told ran a security firm together with Mr Cobb.

The court heard Mr Cobb won a civil court ruling against Mr Smith for around £24,000 over the festival, held at Walpole Park.

In a statement, Mr Cobb added: ‘I am now, once again, a fit and proper person and I look forward to continuing to organise festivals and events for our local communities.’