A BARRISTER who was jailed for three years after admitting a £285,000 tax fraud has failed to have his sentence reduced.
Michael Roberts, formerly of St Andrew?s Road, Henley, used a cancelled VAT number to collect the tax money from clients then failed to hand it to the authorities.
The 58-year-old former Henley Cricket Club secretary was jailed at Reading Crown Court in October after admitting cheating HM Revenue and Customs and perjury.
On Friday, three senior judges at Appeal Court in London rejected his appeal against the length of his sentence, saying it was certainly not ?manifestly excessive?.
Roberts was called to the bar in 1978 and practised from chambers in Lincoln?s Inn, London, for decades.
However, he fell into financial difficulties and was made bankrupt in 2008, having racked up debts of £700,000 to HMRC.
Roberts continued to use a de-registered VAT number while invoicing clients, collecting £285,000 worth of tax he should have paid.
He also perjured himself when he told the Insolvency Service that he was no longer trading.
His counsel, Brian O?Neill QC, argued that the crown court judge had handed him a sentence that was much too severe and he should have ?stepped back?.
But Lady Justice Macur, sitting with Mr Justice Irwin and Mr Justice Dove, said: ?It was not excessive, let alone manifestly excessive, in the light of the facts of these offences.
?In these circumstances, we dismiss the renewed application to appeal.?