False Pretence

“False Pretence” comes from the legal definition of fraud in Scots law.

The definition was first set by the judge in the Adcock v Archibald case in 1925 and has been accepted as the definitive description ever since.

The current legal text is stated in McDonald’s Criminal Law 5th Edition at page 52
“Fraud involves a false pretence made dishonestly in order to bring about some definite practical result. It is not necessary that the result should be actual gain to the offender or actual loss to some victim. Where the practical result is achieved, the fraud is complete.”

So what is a false pretence? It is simply the misrepresentation of a fact. It might be a false statement verbal or written, some other false claim, representing yourself as someone else, or a myriad of other circumstances.

In the Rangers case, The fraud could be described as follows:

The “false pretence” was the statement ……… “We have no overdue payables as at 31 March 2011”

“made dishonestly” …… Rangers knew that the above statement was false.

“a definite practical result” ……. was the award of a licence to compete in Europe in season 2011/12

The description of a fraud was actually challenged by Craig Whyte prior to his trial. See the link below for the judgement, which covers much of the legal stuff  mentioned above.

Whyte’s appeal was rejected by Lady Dorrian, Interestingly, Whyte was represented by Donald Findlay and the Crown by Alex Prentice, as they were in Whyte’s criminal trial in 2017.

[1] The appellant faces an indictment containing one charge at common law and a further charge under sections 678 and 680 of the Companies Act 2006. At a preliminary hearing on 22 December 2016 the Court repelled pleas to the relevancy of both charges.