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Mortgage case couple fail in trial-by-jury bid

A Co Tyrone couple facing mortgage fraud charges have failed in their bid to be tried by a jury.

In a landmark challenge to part of Northern Ireland's justice system, Brian Arthurs (45) and his wife Paula were seeking to quash a decision that their case should go before a judge sitting alone.

It was the first attempt to judicially review provisions under the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007.

But a panel of three High Court judges ruled yesterday there was no evidence the Director of Public Prosecutions failed to approach his task correctly when deciding on a non-jury trial.

Dismissing the application, Lord Justice Girvan also said: “There was ample material before the Director which entitled him to reach the conclusion which he did and it could not be said that his decision was unreasonable.”

Lawyers for the couple confirmed they plan to appeal the verdict, which could lead to a delay in their trial.

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