Barristers are protesting outside Norwich Crown Court this morning (Monday) over proposed government cuts to legal aid.
Several cases at the court have been disrupted, including that of the West Norfolk family on trial for a range of alleged offences, including kidnap and false imprisonment.
Barristers and some solicitors have walked out for half a day to protest against plans to cut legal aid fees by 17 per cent.
Simon Spence QC, chairman of the East Anglian Bar Mess and spokesperson for the Criminal Bar Association, said the cuts would make it “impossible for anyone to make a proper living”.
But he said the protest was not just about the financial side and they are trying to put across an important message.
“This is having a direct impact on the justice system. People are leaving the profession in droves and cases are not being conducted by people who are properly qualified to do so.”
The walk-out will end at 2pm when cases will resume being heard at courts across the country.
Among those resuming later will be the Frankham trial. Seven people are on trial for allegedly kidnapping and wounding a couple they believe murdered their mother, Gertrude Frankham, whose body was exhumed earlier this year for further tests. The tests concluded Mrs Frankham died of natural causes.
Violet Chilton (57), of Dades Lane, Wisbech, is charged with blackmail, false imprisonment and wounding with intent.
Edward Dolan (18), of Flower Farm Bungalow, Walpole, is charged with kidnap, false imprisonment and wounding with intent.
Thomas Chilton (29) and Jason Chilton (27), of Dades Lane, Wisbech, are also charged with kidnap, false imprisonment and wounding with intent.
Vanessa Frankham (48), of Wisbech Road, Walpole St Andrew, is charged with kidnap, blackmail, wounding with intent and robbery.
Diane Evans (18), of Cherry Road, Wisbech, is charged with false imprisonment and a 17-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons is charged with kidnap, false imprisonment and wounding with intent.