Former police worker cleared of fraudulently obtaining festival tickets

Abraham Eshetu. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Abraham Eshetu. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

A former Norfolk Police diversity manager and volunteer presenter at a Norwich community radio station has been cleared of fraud in a dramatic twist during his trial.

Abraham Eshetu, 43, of Orchard Street, Norwich, had always denied acting dishonestly when he applying in 2014 and 2015 for press tickets worth nearly £1,500 for himself and others to attend the World of Music and Dance Festival (WOMAD) with the aim of show-casing artists performing at the festival artists on his Future Radio show.

After he gave his evidence to Chelmsford Crown Court, the prosecution dramatically offered no evidence and Mr Eshetu was formally found not guilty on the judge's direction of the two charges he had faced and was discharged by the judge.

Judge Jonathan Seely said the Crown Prosecution Service had 'come to the proper and right decision'.

Speaking after his acquittal, Mr Eshetu said: 'I feel I have been vindicated. This has affected my life, my career.

'People might think it was a trivial prosecution but it was not trivial to me.

'I felt I was wrongly charged in the first place and today has restored my faith in the judicial system.

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'I felt my community standing had been tarnished by this wrongful prosecution for something I had not done.'

Mr Eshetu lost his job as deputy head of diversity with Norfolk Constabulary after he was charged in 2016 with obtaining media accreditation in 2014 and 2015 by fraud by falsely representing he was a regular presenter on Future Radio; that the persons attending were authorised representatives of the station; and that the listening audience was 192,000.

The charges involved four £160 tickets in 2014 and five at £165 the following year.

Mr Eshetu disputed evidence of prosecution witness Daniele Fischella, the station manager between June 2014 and July 2016, in which it was claimed that that he did not broadcast any shows after January 2015.

He said his last live show was in July 2015 but the station put out pre-recorded shows of his until September that year.

Judge Seely said evidence had come out during the trial – the taped interviews and photographs - which meant the CPS had to review the proceedings.

They showed Mr Eshetu introducing himself as from Future Radio and that he was 'working hard' and in an unpaid role.