Board to investigate robber's aid application

THE SOLICITOR who applied for legal aid so an armed robber could sue the Metropolitan Police Force for £250,000 damages could be reported to the Solicitors Complaints Bureau.

The board suspended its grant of legal aid to Steve Charalambous, secured by his solicitor Naheed Faizafzal, of Joseph Hill & Co in north London, so it could investigate “certain matters” which were brought to light in last week’s newspaper reports.

Charalambous, who was shot by police as he raided a post office in north London in February 1994, is suing the Metropolitan Police for the “pain and emotional distress” he suffered after being seriously injured and for clothes that were damaged in the incident.

Chief executive of the Legal Aid Board Steve Orchard said: “We have asked Charalambous’ solicitors to provide an explanation of certain matters that appear in the press reports.

“If we are not satisfied with any explanation given by his solicitors his legal aid will be withdrawn and the solicitor will be reported to the SCB.”

Orchard said that the grant was only issued in the first instance in order to cover the costs of gathering information and legal opinions about the merits of Charalambous’ case and that it was not granted for the case to be taken to a court hearing.

Faizafzal was unavailable for comment.