Volunteer jailed for stealing £35,000 from sales of poppies

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Dominic Julian Hedley Egré, a former Centenier, admitted that he took the money between 2007 and 2009 after he was given responsibility by the Royal British Legion for producing their new metal lapel poppy pin badges.

After lengthy investigations it was discovered that Egré, who was sentenced to 18 months, ‘misappropriated’ around £10,000 of funds after being provided money to produce the badges and also failed to pass on £25,448 of sales proceeds, which were paid into his bank account.

Egré, whose father was a St Peter Deputy, became involved in the Poppy Appeal in 2006 after his sister suggested that a more ‘robust’ poppy should be designed to be worn on the fire service uniform.

He designed and produced the metal lapel pin poppies for the 2006 sale and they proved to be a ‘resounding success’, the Royal Court heard on Friday.

The Legion made several large cash advances to him to keep producing the badges but suspicions grew about his handling of the finances after just £6,731 was received from sales in 2008, compared with £23,607 in the previous year and £25,712 in 2009.

It was also discovered that Egré had set up an unofficial website to sell merchandise, which purported to be associated with the Royal British Legion. In December 2008, the defendant wrote to the Royal British Legion admitting that the website company owed them £21,634 from the sale of poppy pins.

Egré was eventually arrested in 2016, following intervention from the then Lieutenant-Governor, General Sir John McColl.

During interviews with the police he admitted that he had spent the charity’s money on ‘everyday living expenses and debts’, as well as computer equipment and paying staff working on his website project.

He was also charged with two data protection offences, which he denied, and charges were dropped by the Crown.

Crown Advocate Conrad Yates, prosecuting, said that Egré’s actions had undermined ‘public trust’ in the Royal British Legion and pointed out that he had still not returned the money he had stolen.

‘He has expressed remorse but despite the opportunity to repay the money since 2008 he has not done so,’ he said.

He called for Egré to be jailed for 2½ years.

Advocate Michael Haines, defending, said that in mitigation Egré had made a ‘significant’ contribution to public life in the Island through his voluntary work for the Royal British Legion, before and after he committed the crimes, and in the honorary police.

He added that in a sworn statement Egré had admitted that he had ‘brought shame’ on the Royal British Legion Jersey.

Delivering the court’s sentence the Bailiff, William Bailhache, said that the fact the Egré stole from a charity was an ‘aggravating factor’.

‘This is a very, very sad case. We are going to send you to prison,’ he said.

He sentenced Egré to 18 months in prison.

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