Literary agent to stand trial for robbing authors

A literary agent based in North Devon is due to stand trial next year, facing allegations that he stole more than £500,000 from budding authors. According to thisisnorthdevon.co.uk, Robin Price has pleaded not guilty to six counts of theft at an initial hearing at Exeter Crown Court, and was released on bail. The claims go back as far as 1999, and involve sums ranging from £646 to around £293,000 from six different people.

The local paper reported that the trial could last two weeks and would be held on a date to be set, which could be in January next year. The prosecution alleges that he encouraged authors to pay exaggerated literary fees and invest in non-existent film deals.

Price pleaded not guilty to stealing £120,000 from Bryan Walton between January 1999 and October 2006, £14,250 from Chris Bailey between March 2001 and September 2004 and £4,200 from Michael Hawkes between May 2004 and September 2006.

The defendant also pleaded not guilty to stealing £293,603 from Cecil Humphery-Smith between July 2001 and July 2007, £646 from Evelyn Joyce Jolley in January 2005 and £99,335 from Judith Day between November 2001 and January 2008.

In January of this year, the Writers Beware blog offered a detailed background into Price's activities over the period, under the company names Avalon, Media Arts International and Prospero. It concludes: "What's important is that Price did eventually find himself in court, and will now be prosecuted."