HUNDREDS of thousands of pounds of public money has gone down the drain after a double murder trail was suddenly aborted.
The Fishermead shooting case started four weeks ago at St Albans Crown Court.
With three defendants pleading not guilty and 63 witnesses for the prosecution alone, the court had been booked for a full six weeks.
But this week, not even half way through the prosecution case, the trial was abandoned and the jury discharged.
The decision came after lengthy legal arguments about whether or not it would be fair to continue.
For legal reasons,. some of the issues cannot be revealed, But one factor is understood to have revolved around time, with the estimation that the trial would overrun by two weeks causing problems for the jury.
Judge Mr Justice Nicholl said: “The fundamental criteria of a trial is it must be fair. If the present trial continued it would not meet the test.”
Now a retrial is expected in seven months time and the case will start again from scratch.
The defendants will remain in custody on remand until the new trial begins.
Crown Court cases cost an estimated £3,000 a day in court time alone. All three defendants had a barrister and a junior to defend them under the legal aid system. These bills would total hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The men, all of Somalian origin, pleaded not guilty to murdering 19-year-old Mohammed Farah and Amin Ahmed Ismail, 18, in an alleyway on May 26 last year.
The defendants are Fuad Awale, 24, of no fixed abode, Yahya Harun, 21, of Fishermead Boulevard and Sharmake Abdulkadir, also 21, of The Fleet, Springfield.
The court had heard the two teenagers were shot to death in a ‘drug turf war’ after one of them handed out a dealer’s cannabis for free.