Pair remanded for Banton murder trial - The Rugby Observer
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Pair remanded for Banton murder trial

Rugby Editorial 11th Nov, 2014 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016

Two men accused of killing Rugby father-of-two Jordan Banton by shooting him in the head are likely to stand trial early in the New Year.

Darrell Akins and Paul Clarke pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to murdering 23-year-old Mr Banton some time on July 25.

Akins (28) of Follager Road and Clarke (35) of Bluebell Close also denied possessing a firearm – a shotgun – with intent to commit murder.

Mr Banton, of Crackthorne Drive, had died from a shotgun wound to the head.

His body was found in a car which had been dumped in a country lane near the village of Newton.

Prosecutor Andrew Smith QC asked for the case to be adjourned for trial, observing: “The realistic time estimate for the trial is one to two weeks.”

But Anthony McGeorge, for Akins, commented: “A space of two to three weeks would be more appropriate.”

Judge Richard Griffith-Jones said consideration had to be given by himself, as ‘Resident Judge’ at Warwick, on whether the trial could be released to be heard by someone other than a High Court judge.

He pointed out that would have to be confirmed by the Presiding Judge, the senior judge for the Midlands, who he said has not yet been able to consider the matter.

But he indicated: “The court could accommodate a trial here on January 5, if it is released.”

Mr Smith said mobile phone analyses had been carried out by an expert, although his report was not yet ready – and he asked for the prosecution to be given until November 28 to serve any additional evidence, including that report, on the defence.

And Mr McGeorge said the defence had instructed its own mobile phone expert and will also be obtaining a report by a firearms expert.

Judge Griffith-Jones ruled: “The defence are to serve any experts’ reports on which they seek to rely by December 12.”

He agreed to requests by Mr Smith that any applications for ‘special measures’ for witnesses to give evidence screened from the dock should be made by November 28 and that draft ‘agreed facts’ and a draft jury bundle to be provided by December 19.

The judge then adjourned the case for trial, and remanded Akins and Clarke in custody.

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