White-collar crime: Flushing out the big-time fraudsters
The right to a trial by jury may be one of the foundations of the UK legal system, but it could be abolished in serious fraud cases. Peter Binning reports on three options currently being debated around Europe that could increase the number of fraud convictions
The recent defeat of the Government’s proposals to restrict the right to jury trial by the House of Lords raises the question of what its next move will be in relation to the use of juries in serious fraud cases. The Home Office published a consultation document in February 1998, but there has been little said by the Government about the issue since – the Home Office could only say that the Government was still considering the options. The abolition of jury trials in serious fraud cases is just one of several issues that could change the legal and procedural landscape where offences of fraud are concerned. European Union (EU) initiatives could have far more dramatic effects on the types of fraud cases prosecuted in this country and the powers available to investigators and prosecutors. Parliament has already extended the jurisdiction of our courts to try offences that would previously have been considered extra-territorial and not justiciable here.
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