Eagle Trust defendants down to one

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The Independent Online
A JUDGE this week ordered the discharge of the jury in the case of three of the four people accused of theft of money from Eagle Trust, the Midlands mini-conglomerate, writes Peter Rodgers.

The jury at Wolverhampton Crown Court was told that it was no longer required to return a verdict one way or the other on Richard Smith, a former Eagle Trust managing director, Martin Baker, a former Eagle Trust finance director, and Leslie Goodwin, a former chairman of Connect Parcels, a delivery company.

But the jury is to continue hearing the case against John Ferriday, the former Eagle Trust chief executive, who was charged on 11 counts including the theft of pounds 12.25m and pounds 1.7m in shares, false accounting and providing false information.

The decision was made after several days of legal argument in the absence of the jury.

The charges were brought by the Serious Fraud Office, which alleged that more than pounds 14m was stolen from Eagle Trust by former senior executives after the company's 1987 rights issue failed following the stock market crash.

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