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31 May 2012, 16:34
The jury in the trial of two travellers accused of enslaving vulnerable men by making them work from sunrise to sunset with no pay and live in tents has been discharged.
The trial at Southampton Crown Court of John Connors, 30, and his brother-in-law Billy Connors, 38, was halted for legal reasons that cannot be reported.
The men deny charges of holding three men in slavery or servitude between April 6 2010 and June 24 2011, and alternative charges of requiring the men to perform forced labour between the same dates.
The prosecution alleged the men were homeless and had drink problems and were exploited by the pair.
Judge Peter Henry granted the men bail and ordered a retrial to commence on January 7 next year.
John Connors from Stopsley, Luton, Bedfordshire and Billy Connors from Bulwell, near Nottingham, had originally faced slavery charges in connection with four men but one was dropped on the orders of the judge.
Another man Jerry Connors, 30, from Chertsey in Surrey was acquitted of all charges on the orders of the judge on May 30th.