Page last updated at 16:45 GMT, Friday, 29 August 2008 17:45 UK

Legal aid row may delay Rhys case

Rhys Jones
Rhys Jones was shot in the neck as he crossed a car park

The trial of a 17-year-old accused of murdering schoolboy Rhys Jones in Liverpool could be delayed because of a legal aid row, his defence team claim.

The youth's lawyers have sought a judicial review of a ruling that his defence must cost a fixed price to stop trial costs potentially spiralling.

They said the Legal Services Commission (LSC) had missed a deadline to oppose the judicial review.

But the LSC has denied this. The trial is due to start on 2 October.

The case has been classed as "very high cost", meaning the defence team must be chosen from a list of firms offering a fixed price service.

'On time'

The defendant's solicitors James Benson and Company have opposed this.

The news of a possible delay came to light at Liverpool Crown Court earlier.

Jonathan Duffy, a barrister who represented the defendant at the hearing, said the LSC had not responded to a High Court deadline of August 25 to file evidence against the judicial review.

He said this meant it was unlikely the review would be heard on 11 September - the scheduled date - as a result and the defence might have to apply for an adjournment of the trial.

But a spokesman for the LSC later insisted it had filed its response on time.

He said: "We filed our first defence and had the opportunity to file further supporting evidence in relation to it and we chose not to do so on the advice of counsel.

"The first defence was already there."

Rhys was shot dead on 22 August last year as he walked home from football training in Croxteth Park, Liverpool.

The defendant is due to stand trial with six others.

Anniversary of Rhys Jones killing
22 Aug 08 |  Merseyside

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