Otterburn-based Howard Snaith before Crown Court on tachograph charges

Otterburn-based operator H J Snaith & Partners, Partner Alison Snaith and 18 drivers have appeared at Newcastle upon Tyne Crown Court charged with a total of 157 offences involving the falsification of tachograph records..

All 20 defendants are charged with conspiring to falsify tachograph records and in addition Alison Snaith and driver Stephen Clark are charged with perverting the course of justice between 9 July 2010 and 13 May 2013.

The drivers are John Cameron (one offence of falsification and one of failing to keep a record), Stephen Clark (12 offences of falsification and one of failing to keep), Iain Comdy (one offence of falsification and three of failing to keep), Byron Dodd (five of falsification and one of failing to keep), Alan Dunkerley (one of falsification and one of failing to keep), Terrence Foreman (11 of falsification and three of failing to keep), Gerrard Fox (four of falsification), Mark Hogg (18 of falsification and five of failing to keep), Kenneth James (two of falsification and one of failing to keep), Tony Jordan (one of falsification and one of failing to keep), Craig McKenna (three of falsification and three of failing to keep), James Phelan (two of falsification and one of failing to keep), Martin Robinson (one of falsification and one of failing to keep), Gary Tweddle (11 of falsification), Maurice White (16 of falsification and one of failing to keep), David Wilkinson (three of falsification and three of failing to keep), and Stewart Wood (five of falsification and two of failing to keep).

H J Snaith & Partners and Jessie Hickie are each charged with conspiracy.

Prosecuting for VOSA, Toby Sass told the Crown Court that Alison Snaith had stated that the tachograph charts involving the allegation of perverting the course of justice had been sent to an independent expert and had been lost.

The prosecution would be requesting permission to speak to that expert, permission having been refused by the defence.

The Recorder of Newcastle, James Goss QC, adjourned the case until 4 July for a case management hearing when the indictment will be put to the defendants for plea and set the trial, which it is estimated will last for eight weeks, to start on 12 January 2015.