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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 February 2008, 12:37 GMT
Autograph trial jury discharged
Graeme Walker and Faisal Madani
Graeme Walker and Faisal Madani deny the charges
The jury in the trial of two men who are accused of conning sports fans into buying faked autographs of their heroes has been discharged.

Autographs of Jonny Wilkinson and David Beckham were "systematically" forged and sold by Graeme Walker and Faisal Madani, Chester Crown Court heard.

The jury was discharged after one juror found out her nephew had previously worked at the business, Sporting Icons.

The trial is expected to resume with a new jury. Both men deny the charges.

Judge David Hale told jurors they were being dismissed during a hearing on Thursday.

'Safest option'

He said: "The juror told us that, previously unbeknownst to her, her nephew used to work for Sporting Icons at the time we are concerned about.

"I have decided to discharge you. We could have gone on with 11 but this is a long trial and I have to consider the risk that something else might happen.

"The safest option is to start again with a new jury of 12."

Mr Walker, 45, of Mountain View Close, Connah's Quay, Deeside, denies more than 50 counts of cheating the customers of Sporting Icons, which has a store in Chester.

Mr Madani, 43, of Grange Road, Bramhall, Stockport, Greater Manchester, denies 20 counts of supplying the forgeries.

The new jury is expected to be sworn in on Monday.

SEE ALSO
Stars called to autograph trial
05 Feb 08 |  Merseyside

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