Judge slams Barclays after jury clears ex-supervisor

Sarah Adams, 31, was accused of raiding the savings account of Kathleen Lewis in the hope that the 86 year old would not notice.

But jurors at Southwark crown court took just more than half an hour to clear the counter supervisor of theft after an eight-day trial.

Judge Jeffrey Pegden QC said Barclays had failed to help the prosecution and expert witnesses for the defence.

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He said: “It has been apparent to all who dealt with this case, and a matter of surprise, that Barclays has been lacking in co-operation throughout. This is something that should not happen.

“It has been absolutely noteworthy throughout that when material had to come from the bank to the court, it failed to co-operate.

“It also should have been given to experts, perfectly properly.

“It is a situation that should never happen again and it should be Barclays who is paying the costs wasted at this court on at least three occasions.”

The judge said the original trial date of 29 April had to be abandoned because the prosecution case had not been fully prepared.

He said the bank then failed to deliver material against Ms Adams on time at subsequent hearings.

Ms Adams was accused of stealing the cash from Ms Lewis’s account at the Lower Addiscombe Road branch in Croydon in July and August 2010.

The alleged thefts lay undiscovered for a year because the pensioner did not receive a statement.

Ms Adams, who had worked for the bank since 2004 until she left in August 2011, denied being responsible for the missing money.

She sobbed as the not guilty verdict was delivered. She told jurors “thank you so much” after being cleared, and struggled to contain her emotions as she left the courtroom.

In evidence she said all of her colleagues knew her passwords and ID number. She said she regularly went on breaks without locking her computer, and kept her passwords written down in her unlocked desk drawer.

She admitted breaching bank policy by writing the passwords down but said she had no other way to remember the details as she had so many different tasks to perform.

Ms Adams, of Catford, London, denied one count of theft between 1 July and 8 August 2010. She was cleared unanimously by the jury and granted £105.30 in costs to cover her travel to court.