Murder case farmer sacks his legal team

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The Independent Online

Tony Martin, the Norfolk farmer serving a life sentence for the murder of a young burglar, has dismissed his legal team, including the leading QC Anthony Scrivener.

Tony Martin, the Norfolk farmer serving a life sentence for the murder of a young burglar, has dismissed his legal team, including the leading QC Anthony Scrivener.

Martin's publicist, Max Clifford, said yesterday that his client had grown increasingly disillusioned with Mr Scrivener, a former chairman of the Bar, and his instructing solicitor, Nick Makin. The announcement was made to another member of the legal team during a visit to Gartree high security jail, in Leicestershire, on Friday.

Martin, who was convicted of shooting dead 16-year-old Fred Barras at his remote farmhouse and wounding a second burglar, Brendan Fearon, aged 30, is to press ahead with his appeal, with new lawyers. Last month he won the right to challenge the convictions in the Court of Appeal.

Mr Clifford said Mr Makin's role in arranging a telephone interview between Martin and Martin Bashir, which was screened on a recent edition of ITV's Tonight programme, had played a part in the farmer's decision. Prisoners are barred from speaking to the media without permission, and Martin may face disciplinary action over the call.

But he said there were several reasons for the decision. "It is just something that has built up. It is his decision and he has thought long and hard about it."

Mr Makin and Mr Scrivener were unavailable for comment yesterday.