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Financial Conduct Authority 'welcomes' trial resumption

The Financial Conduct Authority has said it "welcomes" the Court of Appeal's decision to order the resumption of a serious fraud case at the centre of a legal aid row.

In a statement it said: "The FCA is committed to pursuing criminal action in appropriate cases and is pleased that this case can now proceed towards trial."

During the appeal hearing, Sean Larkin QC, for the FCA, told the court that the original decision to halt the trial was "unreasonable".

He argued that the public interest required a lesser remedy - an adjournment - in the case.

Fraud defendants to be acquitted if appeal fails

The court of appeal will decide on today on whether it was lawful for a fraud case that collapsed earlier in the month as the judge agreed the defendants would not have a fair trial.

Read: Court of appeal to rule on legal aid trial collapse

Judge Anthony Leonard stayed the proceedings on May 1, but City watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recently challenged his decision at the Court of Appeal. But during the appeal hearing, Sean Larkin QC, for the FCA said:

The judge erred in principle and came to an unreasonable decision. We want you simply to reverse the stay and that will have the effect of this matter going back before the judge at some time in the future for him to consider how best to progress the case.

He argued that the public interest required a lesser remedy - an adjournment - in the case. If the appeal fails then the defendants, charged with conspiracy to defraud, would be acquitted.

Blog: Legal aid row could see serious criminals escape justice

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Financial Conduct Authority 'considering' ruling

The body responsible for bringing about the case for the now-cancelled fraud trial at Southwark Crown Court has said that they are 'considering' today's ruling.

In a statement, that FCA said: "The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) are considering HHJ Leonard QC's ruling today ordering a stay of the criminal proceedings against Scott Crawley, Dale Walker, Daniel Forsyth, Brendan Daley and Aaron Petrou and whether to appeal.

"In these circumstances we do not intend to comment further at this time."

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