Maxwell persists in challenge to SFO

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The Independent Online
KEVIN MAXWELL, charged earlier this year with various counts of theft and fraud, is to appeal against a High Court refusal yesterday to allow a challenge on the way the Serious Fraud Office is conducting the inquiry into the collapsed Maxwell empire.

Mr Maxwell was attempting to force a judicial review of the decision by the SFO on two different occasions to refuse to disclose documents upon which its case against Mr Maxwell is based.

Mr Justice Roche refused leave for judicial review, but Mr Maxwell appealed and there will be a hearing in the Divisonal Court on Monday in front of Lord Justices Mann and Leonard.

If successful, the application could undermine the way the SFO operates with its dual role as investigator and prosecutor, unique in the British legal system.

In court Mr Maxwell's lawyers argued that the investigation role, which would usually be taken on by the police, was obscuring the requirements of the proscecution to disclose all elements of its case to the defence before trial.

The SFO said it would pass all documents to Mr Maxwell when it had concluded its investigations. Mr Justice Roche indicated that this could be at the beginning of December, but the SFO would not confirm this.