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Bromley men's £5m fraud trial collapses in legal aid row
A £5m fraud trial involving four men from Bromley has been thrown out - because legal aid cuts mean the accused men cannot get a barrister.
The Prime Minister's brother, Alexander Cameron, who agreed to represent the defendants free of charge in am application to stop the case, argued that the controversial Ministry of Justice reforms meant his legally-aided clients could not find barristers of "sufficient competence".
The trial, which involves the alleged mis-selling of land to members of the public, is a so-called Very High Cost Case. The government has cut fees for such long and complex cases by 30 per cent for barristers and solicitors.
In a landmark and damning decision, Judge Anthony Leonard stayed the proceedings at Southwark Crown Court, adding it would be a "violation" to allow the state more time to put right its "failure to provide the necessary resources to permit a fair trial".
Scott Crawley, 35, of St Martins Lane, Beckenham, Daniel Forsyth, 30, of Kingsleigh Walk, Bromley, Brendan Daley, 38, of Park Road, Chislehurst, Brighton man Dale Walker, 53, and Arron Petrou, 46, of Norsted Lane, Orpington, are all now free men.