Irish Republican News · January 18, 2010
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Republican wins right to challenge trial without jury

County Tyrone republican Brian Arthurs has won High Court permission to challenge a decision to hold his forthcoming criminal trial without a jury.

Mr Arthurs and his wife Paula are facing charges linked to an alleged mortgage fraud.

The couple are seeking to quash a decision by Crown prosecutors to issue a certificate for the trial to take place in front of a judge alone.

It is the first time an attempt has been made to judicially review provisions under the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007.

A barrister for Mr and Mrs Arthurs had argued that the couple enjoy a “fundamental right to trial by one’s peers”. The case has been put on hold until the legal challenge has been resolved.

No reason has emerged for the use of a juryless ‘Diplock’ trial in the case. In recent years, the PSNI have been accused by Sinn Fein of “political policing” by vindictively targeting Mr and Mrs Arthurs.

Lawyers were expected to make further submissions in front of a High Court panel of judges on Friday.

But instead, judge Declan Morgan ruled that leave to seek a judicial review should be granted to allow examination of the legislation.

He said: “We are minded... to take the view that this case is the first opportunity this court has had to take a good hard look at how statutory provisions apply in this jurisdiction.”

The judicial review case will now proceed to a full hearing in May.

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