DFDS ferry arson accused Boden Hughes in court

MS King Seaways The ferry had been sailing to Amsterdam but returned to port in North Shields after the fire broke out

A man accused of starting a fire on a North Sea ferry is to claim the court has no jurisdiction in his case.

Boden George Hughes, 26, faces arson and affray charges after the fire on a DFDS vessel from North Shields to Amsterdam on 28 December.

Six people had to be winched to safety and 15 others were injured.

Mr Hughes' legal team is to argue that because the vessel was in international waters, Newcastle Crown Court does not have jurisdiction.

The accused, of Fullwell Road, Sunderland, appeared before the court via a videolink from prison, but did not enter pleas.

The court agreed that a hearing would be held on 8 May to hear arguments on the issue of jurisdiction.

The prosecution said it would challenge that argument.

A provisional trial date has been set for 30 June.

Judge Jeremy Freedman said: "Boden Hughes, the case has been adjourned today, you are not being asked to formally plead to the charges because there is to be a legal argument to hear whether the crown court has jurisdiction in your case."

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