Ruling overturned in legal aid row case

A decision to throw out a multi-million pound fraud trial, after defendants said they could not get representation because of legal aid cuts, has been overturned by the Court of Appeal.

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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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