ENCROCHAT DELAY: Michael Earle & Edward Jarvis face remand of nearly 4 years as trial set for 2024
A MAJOR EncroChat trial will not take place now until nearly four years after two men were charged with conspiracy to murder, blackmail and supply class A drug offences.
Michael Earle, 46, of Wallace Drive, Huyton, and Edward Jarvis, 57, of Breckside Park, Anfield, were charged during the first wave of EncroChat arrests in July 2020 and have been remanded in custody ever since.
Their trial was due to begin at Manchester Crown Court last month.
However, it was adjourned and the court has now confirmed it will not start until March 2024 - three years and eight months after they were charged.
It is alleged that between March 1 2020 and June 17 2020 they each conspired with others to supply class A drugs.
They also face three conspiracy to murder charges, allegedly conspiring with others, to plot to murder Brian Maxwell, Michael Eves and Iyobosa Igbinovia between May 22 and June 17 2020.
They are also charged with conspiracy to blackmail in that they allegedly conspired together and with others to make unwarranted demands with menaces between the same dates.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: "Earlier dates have been offered but the listing reflects the availability of trial counsel."
EncroChat prosecutions came after French and Dutch police infiltrated the supposedly secure EncroChat mobile phone system said to have been used by about 60,000 people across the globe - 9,000 in the UK.
Nearly 3,000 people have been arrested with more than 1,500 charged.