Trial will be one of most costly in Britain

The trial of the terror suspects charged with plotting to blow up transatlantic airliners will be one of the biggest and most costly to be staged in this country.

It could also be one of the first high-profile terror trials to be held at the purpose-built high-security court in Woolwich, south London.

Woolwich Crown Court is close to Belmarsh high security prison, where many of the suspects are being held. In recent months court staff have been busy preparing Woolwich so that it is ready to shoulder some of the heavy caseload of terror trials currently handled at the Old Bailey.

While the switch could help to improve security and cut costs, the case is still expected to be one of the most expensive for many years.

It follows a massive nationwide police operation involving a number of different forces as well close liaison with the security and intelligence services. The evidence gathered is now being carefully assessed and prepared for trial by senior lawyers at the Crown Prosecution Service, who have been working closely with the investigating police officers.

The defence teams will be looking to retain high-profile QCs who have strong reputations in defending in terror trials.

But the Crown's opening statements are unlikely to be heard before next year, when the trial date is expected to be set. Lessons will have been learnt from the experience of prosecuting other multi-defendant terror cases.

The Government, working with the judiciary, has introduced several reforms to the management and operation of high-cost cases, including terror trials.

Judges now have powers to keep barristers on a tighter reign and ensure the trial is run more efficiently so that costs do not overrun.

Until the start of the trial the media will be expected to show great restraint in reporting anything about the suspects or the alleged plot. Under the strict rules of the Contempt of Court Act, editors face fines and possible imprisonment if they print or broadcast anything that might seriously prejudice the trial.

And the Home Secretary, John Reid, and the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, have already issued a joint statement reminding the media to "exercise considerable restraint".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat