A MOTHER accused of lying to win her son a place at a popular Pinner primary school has had the case against her withdrawn.
In what may have been a legal first, Harrow Council charged Mrinal Patel, 41, under the Fraud Act.
It said that she used a false address on a Pinner Park First School application form.
She was due to appear for a second time at Harrow Magistrates' Court tomorrow, but the council has dropped the case, citing fears about hefty legal fees.
The allegation centres on a form Mrs Patel filled in for her son, Rhys, then five, and came after a routine benefits department check.
She claimed they had lived at her mother's address in Willow Court, Fulbeck Road, Harrow, since 1994 and as proof showed a council tax bill in her mother's name.
In fact, mother and daughter share the same initials and surnames.
The flat is a little under two miles from Pinner Park First School in Melbourne Avenue, and falls within the catchment area.
In 2008, the school was the most oversubscribed in Harrow, with 411 applications for just 90 places.
However, after an inquiry, the council claimed she did not permanently live there and her home was a property she shared with her husband in Streatfield Road, Kenton, on the opposite side of the borough.
The council began court proceedings and the hearing at Harrow Magistrates' Court was in May.
Pinner Park First School revoked Rhys' place and it is thought he now attends a private school.
Councillor David Ashton (Conservative), leader of the council, said: "Harrow Council brought this case with the greatest of reluctance after attempts to get Mrs Patel to expand on apparent irregularities on the school application form proved fruitless.
"She declined interview requests, where a caution could have been considered, and instead wrote to the council using her mother's address again. A court summons was issued.
"The initial hearing has raised issues over the use of the Fraud Act 2006. While we stand by our case, legal advice is that legal arguments over interpretation of the act could pose a risk to the success of the action.
"This case was never about persecuting mothers who wish to do the best for their children. It was about defending the integrity of the school system against those who might seek to flout it."
Mrs Patel was not available for comment.