Fraud trials without jury proposal faces delay

The government’s proposal to scrap jury trials for complex fraud cases is
under threat and could be delayed for at least a month, the attorney-general has

Lord Goldsmith acknowledged that Liberal Democrat and Conservative opposition
to the proposal in the House of Lords meant the ‘arithmetic’ was against the
government, but said he was committed to trial without jury for the most complex

He said that withdrawing the order from the Lords would most likely delay
implementation by some months – which was due to come into force on 1 January,
2006. However, he said he had accepted offers from the Conservatives and the
Liberal Democrats to reach a compromise.

Analysts have predicted that prosecutors may hold off laying charges in some
fraud cases until the situation is resolved.

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