Council leader facing fraud and tax charges to apply to change trial venue

Councillor Jason Zadrozny will apply for his trial to be heard away from Nottingham Crown Court.

A Nottinghamshire district council leader charged with multiple offences including fraud and drug possession will apply to face trial outside of the county.

Councillor Jason Zadrozny, leader of Ashfield District Council, has previously denied 22 offences.

But a hearing at Nottingham Crown Court on Friday heard that the charges may be amended, with an application to be made to change the venue of a future trial.

James Varley, prosecuting, said: “There are issues with the indictment, I accept that.

“It is something I want to have a look at.

“But it seems that the most pressing issue is venue because if that is going to be argued we can’t look at trial dates.”

Judge Steven Coupland ordered the final indictment to be served by September 8 and listed a further hearing on October 27 at the same court to hear arguments over where the trial should be heard.

Dressed in a chequered brown suit and blue shirt, Zadrozny spoke only to confirm his identity in the short hearing.

Giles Newell, mitigating, did not elaborate on the reasons for the application to change the trial court during the hearing.

Extending the defendant’s unconditional bail, Judge Coupland said: “I am going to adjourn your case at this stage for legal arguments to take place about where your trial is going to take place.

“The next time you are required back at court is October 27.

“That is when any application to move this case from Nottingham will be made.

“I extend your bail on the same conditions.”

In a previous hearing at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court, Zadrozny denied 12 counts of fraud by false representation, five of converting or transferring criminal property, four of being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of income tax, and one of possession of cocaine.

The earlier hearing was told that the total sum of the fraud is alleged to be more than £10,000 while the total relating to alleged income tax evasion is £9,685.

The 43-year-old, of Sutton Road, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, was arrested last November along with five other councillors from his party, the Ashfield Independents, as part of investigations into alleged fraud.

He represents the Larwood ward and has previously denied wrongdoing by him and his party colleagues.

He was first elected to the council in 2007 as a Liberal Democrat, serving as leader until 2009, and has served in the role since 2018 for his current party.

He has also sat on Nottinghamshire County Council since 2007, first for the Sutton-in-Ashfield North division and latterly for Ashfields.

Police have said that his fraud charges relate to the alleged misuse of Nottinghamshire County Council funds between February 14 2018 and February 16 2021.

The money laundering charges date from April 2018 to June 2019, the income tax charges from January 2007 to February 2022, and the drug charge relates to the alleged possession of cocaine on September 10 2021.

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