Old Bailey staff face dismissal over Noye's £250,000 legal aid

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The Independent Online

Three officials at the old bailey who granted £250,000 in legal aid to the M25 "road-rage" killer Kenneth Noye are to face disciplinary proceedings, it was announced yesterday.

Three officials at the old bailey who granted £250,000 in legal aid to the M25 "road-rage" killer Kenneth Noye are to face disciplinary proceedings, it was announced yesterday.

The Court Service workers were found by an auditors' investigation to have failed to follow proper procedures when they awarded the millionaire gangster public funds last year.

Noye, who was jailed for life at the Old Bailey in April for the murder of Stephen Cameron, received legal aid throughout his trial. Although the final sum has yet to be released, it is understood to amount to at least £250,000 for the fees of defence lawyers for Noye, who has declared himself bankrupt.

It is understood the inquiry set up by Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine of Lairg, found legal aid was granted through "carelessness", by failing to check Noye's financial background, rather than corrupt practice.

Jane Kennedy, a minister in the Lord Chancellor's Department, announced improved training and tightened controls and checking at courts as she confirmed the investigation into the Old Bailey staff.

In a Commons written reply, Ms Kennedy said: "The auditors found that the proper procedures for granting legal aid were not followed in this case. As a result, additional training, checking and controls are being introduced across the Court Service to ensure that the correct procedures for the granting of legal aid by the Crown Court are followed."

If the three officials are found to have infringed disciplinary rules, they face a range of sanctions including dismissal.