Framed By The Frogs
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The title of Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Er, no.

When it came to his Judgement on the BALPA Affair, Judge Richard Seymour QC was less than complimentary about Renault and its witnesses, including past and present employees Carolyn Sample, Steve Wilson, Toby Johnson and Keith Hayles.

Here's what His Lordship had to say about Toby Johnstone of Renault Croydon ...



'.... in the light of his unsatisfactory answers to many of the points put, and my assessment of Mr. Johnstone as a gentleman who, by and large, was seeking to avoid answering questions frankly and to minimise his knowledge of what was going on and his involvement in events, I prefer the evidence of Mr. Thoms to that of Mr. Johnstone on all points upon which their evidence of fact differed'

'I accept that Mr. Johnstone did indeed suggest to Mr. Thoms the possibility of taking advantage of the terms available under the BALPA Scheme to sell Renault cars to non-BALPA members.'

'Mr. Johnstone made something over £10,000 as a result of the misuse of the BALPA FON'

'In respect of the period between 14 June 2005 and 28 June 2005 I find that Mr. Johnstone had reason to suspect that the first order did not properly fall within the ambit of the BALPA Scheme, because of the conversation which I have found in which he suggested that the Importer would not object to the use of the BALPA FON for sales to non-BALPA members. I find that that suspicion must have matured into a certainty of knowledge with the increasing volume of orders, such that what he was told on 28 June 2005 was only confirmation of a conclusion which he himself had reached by that time.'


In this extract from 'Framed By The Frogs' barrister Laura John begins to dissect Renault's chief witness Toby Johnstone:

"Again, Laura has been briefed. As with Steve Wilson, Toby was also a recent new-comer to fatherhood and his wife had, I think, been made redundant shortly after sales had commenced through the BALPA account, which must have placed a financial strain on him.

In addition, whilst Carolyn and Steve were corporate people managing business relationships, Toby was a ‘street-fighting’ salesman; he was out on the front line and responsible for bringing in sales one by one.

Toby Johnstone was savvy and capable of ducking and diving in the world of trading cars, and by that I don’t just mean selling cars, I mean real metal-trading, with all the manoeuvring necessary to get a sale. But that doesn't bode well for us - whatever he could get away with on the dealership forecourt he might well try to get away with on the Witness Stand.

Armed with that, Laura has made a start, setting off with the seemingly innocent. What is Toby’s salary? £16,000pa. And his commission on each car sold through the BALPA account? £50 per car. So what is his total annual commission? Maybe £16,000 a year, which means that commissions make up half Toby’s annual earnings.

And it also means that the 220 or so cars sold through the BALPA account must have accounted for over £10,000 of that commission. Nearly 2/3rds of Toby Johnstone's entire year’s commission came solely from the cars sold under the BALPA account, and not far short of a third of his total annual income for that year.

Think about that for a moment. Just like Toby Johnstone would have. Little wonder that Toby would initially go to great lengths to protect the Golden Goose of the BALPA account, and therefore me. Like tipping me off when Steve Wilson was going to ‘challenge’ me about the cars sold under the BALPA account.

But no wonder too that in his Witness Statements he subsequently denied everything."

More of Toby Johnstone on the Witness Stand ...
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