Midweek Sport - - NEWS -

THE trial of an al­leged far-right ex­trem­ist ac­cused of mur­der­ing MP Jo Cox in a “cow­ardly” at­tack be­fore the EU ref­er­en­dum cam­paign was brought to a halt due to prison of­fi­cers’ ac­tion.

Thomas Mair, 53, is said to have re­peat­edly shot and stabbed the 41-year-old Labour politi­cian ( left) out­side her con­stituency surgery in Birstall, near Leeds, on June 16.

The Old Bai­ley trial was yes­ter­day due to hear the first wit­nesses in the case.

But trial judge Mr Jus­tice Wilkie ad­journed the case un­til this morn­ing be­cause Mair was not in the dock.

He said: “Mem­bers of the jury you will ob­serve that the de­fen­dant is not in the dock and he will not be at­tend­ing court today.

“The rea­son for this is there are cir­cum­stances at Bel­marsh prison where he is cur­rently re­sid­ing – and I understand at pris­ons all over the coun­try – which pre­clude bring­ing any pris­on­ers to court for court hear­ings.

“The law is very clear that where, as here, a de­fen­dant does not at­tend his trial through no fault of his then in the ab­sence of his con­ is rarely ever ap­pro­pri­ate for a trial to pro­ceed in his ab­sence.”

Mr Mair de­nies Mrs Cox’s mur­der, pos­ses­sion of a firearm with in­tent to com­mit an in­dictable of­fence and pos­ses­sion of an of­fen­sive weapon – a dag­ger.

The trial con­tin­ues.

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