Delay in sentencing of NHS fraudster

SENTENCING has been delayed for the third time in the case of an optician who defrauded the NHS of thousands of pounds.

Iqbal Nabi, 38, of Slough, Berkshire, formerly dispensing optician at New Global Visions, in Robertson Street, was convicted in July of making fraudulent claims to the NHS to the tune of £5,000.

He was sectioned under the Mental Health Act last month, in order that he was able to undergo detailed psychological assessment to determine whether he was mentally ill prior to sentencing.

The report from Wrexham Park Hospital in Slough, where Nabi was an in-patient, said that he was showing signs of stress, but that there was no underlying mental health issue.

However at Lewes Crown Court on Monday (December 17), Stephen Requena defending, requested a further independent report, and said: “The concern is that they believe he is less well than it is perceived in this report.”

Judge David Rennie granted the request, and set a new sentencing date of January 29.

Nabi was due to be sentenced on October 8, and this is the third time proceedings have been postponed due to questions over his mental health.

New Global Visions received cash for eye tests that were never carried out as well as for contact lenses and glasses with incorrect prescriptions between January and October 2009, in a scam that has cost the taxpayer around £40,000 to investigate.

Nabi was charged, along with Helen James, of Dunstable, a former opthalmic medical practitioner, with £5,000 of fraud.

James, 56, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced on October 8 to a four-month suspended sentence, £1,000 in costs and 250 hours community service.