Jury undecided in Walker case

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THE JURY in the George Walker trial begins a second day of deliberation today after failing to reach a verdict, writes Russell Hotten.

During the four-and-a-half- month trial evidence has been heard from more than 80 witnesses, including Mr Walker, who spent two weeks answering questions.

Judge Geoffrey Rivlin, who concluded his summing-up yesterday morning, warned of the intense media interest in the case. He asked Mr Walker, 65, and his co-defendant, Wilfred Aquilina, 43, to remain in the court building during opening hours to avoid media pressure.

As Mr Walker's wife Jean listened with her daughters, the judge told the jury that they should try to reach unanimous verdicts.

The former chairman and chief executive of Brent Walker is accused of having 'orchestrated' a pounds 19.3m profit fraud. The prosecution alleged that after years of inflating the company's income to fool investors, the pair covered their tracks with bogus deals and false documentation.

The judge, concluding his six-and-a-half-day summing- up, reminded the jury that Mr Walker had told the court that his signature had been forged on a number of vital documents. Mr Walker said he had signed other documents without looking at them because of his heavy workload.

Mr Walker and Mr Aquilina are jointly accused of two charges of false accounting, one of theft and one of conspiracy to falsify accounts. In addition Mr Walker faces three theft charges and Mr Aquilina one of false accounting. All the allegations are denied.

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