9th February 2024, 20:40
Published by GBC News
The jury in a fraud trial at the Supreme Court have had an early start to their long weekend. Proceedings were cut short today to allow lawyers on either side to assess how they might reduce the time they're spending on each witness.
Defendant Gillian Balban is facing allegations of fraud and false representation.
Most witnesses are spending close to two days on the stand between questioning from the Crown and cross-examination from the Defence. Legal teams are hoping that re-organising the schedule a little today, might save some time going forward.
The case was originally set down for six weeks and is expected to go past that.
The last two days has seen testimony from a cashier at the Line Wall branch of Natwest.
Witness Miranda Smith was a cashier at Natwest Line Wall Road at the time the former Head of Retail at Natwest Gibraltar defendant Gillian Balban is alleged to have falsely accounted and committed fraud - between 2011 and 2017.
Ms Smith worked at the foreign till at the Line Wall Road branch and has told the court the defendant would leave debit slips at the till and take euros.
The Cashier Manager claims she was uncomfortable with this and that it wasn’t something staff were supposed to do. She says she mentioned this to her line manager and it then stopped, with Ms Balban repaying the euros taken from the Line Wall branch.
Staff who worked at the Corral Road branch have accused Ms Balban of doing the same, except they claim that hundred of thousands of IOU slips were left to pile up at the branch for years and remained there after Ms Balban was made redundant in March 2017.
Miranda Smith's witness statement claimed that Gillian Balban "would go running to Corral Road if there was a difference when balancing the till."
Ms Smith was also referred to two entries she had made into the banks system totalling £1.1 million. She told the court she was instructed by Gillian Balban to add these values to the teller system.
Christian Rocca, acting for the Crown showed the court 1.1 million pounds left the system in two different amounts the next day.
Sir Peter Caruana, acting for Ms Balban questioned why she would make these entries knowing they weren’t there. He said Ms Smith was being asked to forge, essentially, and questioned why she wouldn’t go to one of the bosses above Ms Balban.
Ms Smith said that ‘you really needed to be there, there was no option.’ She added that she didn’t know who to go to and that she didn’t know anyone who was comfortable with going to anyone else about Gillian Balban.
Ms Smith told the court she didn’t like to admit it but that she was scared of Ms Balban. She said she couldn’t explain the amount of trauma her and other members of staff have gone through due to Ms Balban’s alleged actions.
She remains an employee of Natwest Gibraltar to date.