Fraud trial halted in legal aid row

A fraud trial has been halted because the defendants were unable to get legal representation following cuts to legal aid. The Prime Minister's brother, Alexander Cameron QC, argued "the state has failed to provide adequate representation".

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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."

MoJ: 'Barristers have refused to work on cases'

Barristers are refusing to work on Very High-Cost Cases like the axed fraud trial because they do not agree with the legal aid savings the Government is making, the Ministry of Justice statement said in a statement.

"Barristers have refused to work on this case - and a number of other Very High Cost Court Cases - because they do not agree with savings the Government is making to legal aid.

"Even after the savings, if a QC picked up a case like this one, they could expect to receive around £100, 000 for working on it, with a junior barrister receiving around £60, 000.

"The Government has made sure that the Public Defender Service has a number of suitably qualified advocates who could act in this case."

Judge: 'State has failed' to provide resources for trial

A general view of Southwark Crown Court in London. Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA Archive

The judge that ruled an serious fraud case be stayed because of a lack of proper legal representation for the defendants has said he made the decision so that the state can "put right" its failure.

"Having considered all these matters, I am compelled to conclude that, to allow the state an adjournment to put right its failure to provide the necessary resources to permit a fair trial to take place now amounts to a violation of the process of this court." Judge Anthony Leonard QC said.

The defendants were among eight men charged in April last year with financial crimes over the alleged tricking of investors over a scam to buy land and sell it at vastly inflated profits

Delivering his ruling at Southwark Crown Court, he said it would clog up the courts to adjourn the case to next January.


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