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Complex fraud case stopped after Hughmans successfully argues there can be no fair trial

1st May 2014

Lee Adams successfully argued for a stay of complex fraud proceedings known as R v Crawley & Others at Southwark Crown Court today alongside Alexander Cameron QC. The case is the first to be stayed as a result of the Government’s cuts to Legal Aid, which left the defendants with no prospect of adequate representation at trial. The firm argued as long ago as December that the defendants would not receive a fair trial while barristers continued to refuse to take on complex fraud cases due to the cuts. The case is the first prosecution by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and only the second ever ‘land banking’ case to be pursued through the criminal courts.

Hughmans has a long history of defending in complex, serious fraud cases prosecuted by the FCA and Serious Fraud Office (SFO) so the firm was well positioned to recognise the potential of an abuse of process argument and bring it successfully to court.

Today’s ruling by HHJ Anthony Leonard QC can be found here:

http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/Resources/JCO/Documents/Judgments/r-v-crawley-others.pdf

The case has been widely covered in the press, including:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/10802616/Prime-Ministers-brother-at-centre-of-legal-aid-row.html

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/law/article4078896.ece

http://www.theguardian.com/law/2014/may/01/barristers-legal-aid-protest-collapse-fraud-fair-trials

The FCA must now decide whether to appeal.

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