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British judge presses for speedy start to transatlantic air terror trial

[JURIST] The British judge presiding over the trial of 13 men arrested [JURIST report] and charged [JURIST news archive] in connection with the alleged terror plot [JURIST report] to blow up US-bound jetliners over the Atlantic [JURIST news archive] urged prosecutors and defense lawyers Friday to avoid any further delays in the case, which is already not expected to begin before 2008 [JURIST report]. Justice David Calvert-Smith [Wikipedia profile] asked prosecutors specifically to be quick in organizing their evidence, a charge that prosecutors claim is difficult because of the "size, scale, and nature" of the case. Meanwhile, defense lawyers claim to have received only a fraction of the evidence from prosecutors, who say the trial date could still be pushed back further.

Eleven of the suspects face charges of conspiracy to murder and preparing acts of terrorism [JURIST report], while two others are charged with preparing terrorism. Some of the charges fall under the Terrorism Act 2006 [text, PDF; official backgrounder], which was enacted in March and permits British law enforcement officials to detain and question suspected terrorists for up to 28 days before the suspects must be charged with a crime or released. AP has more.

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