Tesco’s former UK managing director broke down in tears in the dock yesterday as a court heard he had opted not to give evidence at a trial in which he is accused over the 2014 profits scandal.
Chris Bush, 51, is alleged to have failed to correct inaccurately recorded income figures, which were published to auditors, other employees and the wider market.
At the start of Bush’s defence case, his barrister Adrian Darbishire QC, informed the court his client would not be giving evidence.
Judge Deborah Taylor, at Southwark Crown Court, asked Mr Darbishire if Bush was aware the jury may draw inferences from his decision.
Saying that he was, Mr Darbishire added: “I will not be calling Mr Bush.”
Instead the court was read a series of character witness statements.
One came from Bush’s daughter Emily Bush, who sat in the public gallery crying as jurors heard her father had “literally dedicated his life to Tesco”, and described him as having made many sacrifices for his work.
Bush sat weeping in the dock as jurors heard he was loved “to bits” by his daughter.
Her statement continued: “It is really important to Dad to do the right thing. He has always said to me ‘if you are going to do something, do it the best you can and do it properly’.”
Jurors heard that in Miss Bush’s experience her father had always been “honest and straightforward”.
Bush is on trial at Southwark Crown Court alongside Carl Rogberg, 50, the supermarket’s former finance chief, and John Scouler, 49, its former food commercial head.
They deny one count each of fraud by abuse of position and false accounting between February and September 2014, and were investigated after Tesco was found to have inflated its profits.
The scandal is said to have wiped £2bn off the supermarket’s total share value.
Rogberg, of Chiselhampton, Oxfordshire, Bush, of High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, and Scouler, of St Albans, Hertfordshire, all deny the charges.