Commenting on the ruling in the "Op Cotton" case, Shadow Justice Minister Andy Slaughter MP said,
"This morning [01/05/2014] HHJ Leonard QC sitting at Southwark Crown Court stayed proceedings in the Crown and Crawley and others fraud trial, after hearing representations from Alex Cameron QC (the PM’s brother) earlier this week that the case should not proceed because of the cuts in Legal Aid introduced by the Lord Chancellor.
This is a political farce but it is deadly serious for the criminal justice system in this country which has been brought into disrepute and now rendered ineffective by the Luddite acts of a Lord Chancellor who is frankly out of his depth."
Shadow Lord Chancellor Sadiq Khan MP said,
“This is an astonishing indictment of the Tory-led Government’s policies. Time and again ministers have been warned their changes to legal aid could lead to miscarriages of justice and trials collapsing. Today, these warnings have come true.
“Because of Chris Grayling’s legal aid changes, a judge has been forced to abandon a serious fraud trial because he couldn’t guarantee the defendants a fair trial. Thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money has been wasted on this aborted trial, and this decision shows judges also have lost confidence in the Justice Secretary. Chris Grayling needs to urgently provide answers on how they plan to prevent a meltdown in the justice system caused by their policies.
1. Full ruling here - http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/Resources/JCO/Documents/Judgments/r-v-crawley-others.pdf
2. BBC Report - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27238201
3. Law Society Gazette - http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/practice/fraud-trial-collapses-over-legal-aid-cuts/5041044.article