Belfast Telegraph

David Ford wins appeal over legal aid for criminal

BY ALAN ERWIN

The Department of Justice has won its appeal against being ordered to provide effective legal aid to a convicted prisoner after he dismissed his lawyers.

Senior judges overturned a High Court ruling that all necessary steps should be taken to ensure Raymond Brownlee has access to legal representation for a sentencing hearing.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan said it should be left to the trial judge to decide on issues around the Belfast man's rights.

Brownlee is awaiting sentencing after being convicted of wounding with intent, threatening to kill and falsely imprisoning a woman.

At one stage the prospect was raised of him avoiding jail because of the stalemate.

No barrister has been prepared to act for him for the fixed fees available under a revised payment scheme introduced by Justice Minister David Ford.

Sir Declan, sitting with Lord Justices Higgins and Girvan, accepted a breach may follow if an accused loses his lawyers through no fault of his own.

Belfast Telegraph

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