Beds, Herts & Bucks

Solicitor regrets disabled brother and sister 'judgement call'

Bartlett family
Image caption The two grown-up children of Mr and Mrs Bartlett live with their parents

A solicitor accused of persuading two severely disabled siblings to "sign" away the rights to their home has said it was a "judgement call" he regretted.

Ranbir Dhaliwal is alleged to have got John and Clare Bartlett to make "marks" on legal papers which denied them a claim on their home if their parents defaulted on a loan.

Mr Dhaliwal, 45, of Carnoustie Drive, Bedford told St Albans Crown Court he regretted his actions.

He denies three counts of fraud.

He told the court that, looking back, he wished he had never met anyone involved, but that having arrived at the home of the brother and sister and spoken to them and their parents, he felt the siblings could understand him.

The jury has been told the documents on which John and Clare Bartlett made the marks gave away any rights they had to stay in the family home in Wyton in Huntingdon if their parents were to default on a £250,000 loan and the house was repossessed.

The court heard that the finance company which had offered the loan was unaware of the siblings' disability and Mr Dhaliwal had been hired by a pair of conmen to obtain the marks.

The men - Gary Carr, 49, from Stotfold in Bedfordshire and Mark Carmichael, 48, from Waltham Abbey in Essex - have already been sentenced for a million-pound photocopier scam, which eventually left the Bartletts bankrupt to the tune of £1.3m.

The jury has previously heard the solicitor's fee of £2,350 was paid by Mark Carmichael.

Mr Dhaliwal has pleaded not guilty to one charge of fraud by abuse of position and two charges of fraud by false representation.

The case continues.

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