Murder trial delay is an 'insult'

A CLOSE friend of Suffolk millionaire Tony Fetherston who was shot dead nearly four years ago yesterday has expressed his outrage at the latest delay in holding a murder trial.

A CLOSE friend of Suffolk millionaire Tony Fetherston who was shot dead nearly four years ago yesterday has expressed his outrage at the latest delay in holding a murder trial.

The long-awaited trial of Joseph Hazel, a painter who has denied killing Mr Fetherston on a Caribbean island, has been delayed for the fifth time and it will not be heard until January next year at the earliest.

Hazel has been in prison on St Kitts for more than two years awaiting a trial and he was committed 18 months ago. But since then there have been numerous delays in bringing him before a judge and jury.

Jim Bidwell, of Melton, said: "We are still looking for justice for an act that took place nearly four years ago.


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"The delay is beyond the ludicrous and it has become an insult to the Fetherston family and to the memory of Tony who did nothing but good for that island."

October 20 had been pencilled in for the trial but Dennis Merchant, director of public prosecutions on St Kitts, admitted that the case would not be heard this year.

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Mr Merchant said the judge finished sitting on October 30 and it was feared the trial would overrun into November.

A two-week trial was scheduled for June but this was postponed at the last moment while legal teams argued over how many British witnesses were required for the trial and the cost of their expenses.

Mr Merchant declined to comment on the witnesses' costs and said: "All I can say is that the forensic scientists will be my most important witnesses." Forensic scientists at the Home Office spent months analysing DNA samples taken from the alleged killer and clothing found at the scene of the shooting at Mr Fetherston's holiday home in the island's capital of Basseterre.

Mr Fetherston, 65, of Woodbridge, was a former Commodore of the Frinton and Walton Yacht Club, who died in January 2000 while his wife Margaret was inside the bungalow talking on the phone to their daughter Alex in New York.

The Foreign Office said yesterday it could not interfere with the legal process on St Kitts and it was up to the director of public prosecutions to decide when the hearing should take place.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "It will, of course, be frustrating for the family that it has been delayed once again. I have not been officially informed that it was going to be delayed, however, I believed that was going to be the case. Obviously it is not something that we would want to keep happening."

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