Cookstown man has court order quashed

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SENIOR judges have quashed a £16,000 confiscation order made against a Co Tyrone man after ruling that proceedings against him were unfair.

The Court of Appeal also said defence barristers unjustifiably abandoned Kevin Higgins in an illegal waste dumping case over the legal aid fees on offer.

Higgins (40), of Killybearn Road,Cookstown, brought a challenge to a Crown Court confiscation order made against him last August.

More than four years earlier he was given a suspended four- month prison term for unlawfully keeping more than 6,000 tonnes of construction and demolition waste at land near his home without a licence.

The appeal judges ruled that in the confiscation proceedings, a combination of procedural errors and shortcomings, protracted delays and the discharge of counsel in circumstances where the defendant should have had legal assistance meant his right to a fair trial was breached.

Mr Higgins has indicated that he is considering further legal action over the case.