Court clears Mears brothers from Brighton of Lapland scam

Posted On 26 Oct 2011 at 4:26 pm

The Mears brothers from Brighton have had their convictions quashed in the Lapland “winter wonderland” fraud case.

The two brothers were jailed for 13 months in March for conning thousands of families over the Lapland theme park in the New Forest.

Victor Mears, 67, of Selsfield Drive, Moulsecoomb, and Henry Mears, 60, of Coombe Road, Brighton, took their case to the Court of Appeal although they have finished serving their sentences.

Their barrister, Geoffrey Robinson, said that their convictions were unsafe because a juror had received text messages about the case from her fiancé.

He was in the public gallery where he heard information kept back from the jury.

He sent her one text saying “guilty” but tried to argue that it referred to a fried breakfast that he had eaten when he was supposed to be on a diet.

Dorset Trading Standards, which prosecuted the brothers at Bristol Crown Court, will not be seeking a retrial.

The three judges – Lord Justice Moore-Bick, Mr Justice Butterfield and Mr Justice Irwin – will give the reasons for their decision in the near future.

The brothers were originally convicted after a two-month trial was told that they were behind a scam that netted more than £1 million.

Jurors were told that many of their victims were families with young children, disappointed after responding to adverts in The Argus and other local newspapers three years ago.

The adverts enticed them to visit the bogus “winter wonderland” but the attraction consisted of little more than a muddy field, a broken ice rink and fairy lights hanging from a tree.

The site closed within days, with the Mears brothers blaming negative media coverage and sabotage.

  1. Valerie Paynter, saveHOVE Reply

    …and now the Mears Brothers will no doubt sue for false imprisonment etc. and hoover in EVEN MORE MONEY in damages!
    The juror and texting boyfriend should be jailed for their part in this outcome.

  2. Ron Sharratt Reply

    Surely this case case shows that there needs to be a change in the law which would ban mobile phones being used by jurors in the court.

  3. Aaa Reply

    Everyone is entitled to a fair trail, and this wasn’t one. I hope the Juror is prosecuted.

  4. Aaa Reply

    Trial even!

  5. edward lamotte Reply

    Good on the 2 Mears Brother, So the Winter Wonderland was not as it should have been, But that does not mean to say they deliberatly tried to deceive, What is there to gain by putting a old man with cancer into prison , He has put smiles on many with his works and Adventures, and Brother Henry keeps the work force of Brighton well fed every morning ,which gives them energy to fix your roof,s and build what you need, Time to give them both a Break, And I hope they sue and get what they deserve, which is a big fat cheque ,for all the hassel and stress they have been through, lols

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