Page last updated at 09:12 GMT, Thursday, 4 September 2008 10:12 UK

Rhys case legal aid row resolved

Rhys Jones
Rhys Jones was shot in a Croxteth pub car park a year ago

The legal aid dispute which threatened to delay the start of the trial of a 17-year-old accused of murdering Rhys Jones in Liverpool has been settled.

The accused's lawyers sought a judicial review of a ruling that the boy's defence be a fixed price, because the trial was deemed a "high costs" case.

The Legal Services Commission (LSC) has made an "exceptional decision" to allow the current legal team to proceed.

The planned judicial review could have set the 2 October trial date back.

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

'Trial important'

The defendant is due to stand trial with six others.

An LSC spokesman said: "The Legal Services Commission (LSC) recognises the importance of the trial of those accused of murdering Rhys Jones to his family and the local community and to the defendants themselves.

"The current position is that all defendants have full defence teams to be paid for by legal aid.

"However, a solicitor, whose firm is not a member of the Very High Cost Cases (VHCC) Panel, has legally challenged the LSC's decision that the case is a very high cost case, this; was not due to be heard until 10 September and would have jeopardised the trial due to start on 2 October.

"As such, the LSC has made an exceptional decision to allow the non-panel firm to represent the seventh defendant and to instruct appropriate counsel.

"This will ensure that the trial proceeds as scheduled and that each defendant has appropriate well-prepared representation in court."

Legal aid row may delay Rhys case
29 Aug 08 |  Merseyside
Anniversary of Rhys Jones killing
22 Aug 08 |  Merseyside

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