THE British justice system takes some hard knocks.

It has come under even more scrutiny this week with the Government preparing for anti-terrorism legislation which critics say will erode our civil liberties.

But spare a thought for the East Lancashire man accused of murdering his wife in France - he has yet to find out when he will stand trial despite spending 11 months in jail.

There is no prospect of a court hearing soon for Robert Lund, 53, who was arrested last November at his home in La Veaute, in the south of France, by gendarmes investigating the disappearance of his wife Evelyn.

Lund was quizzed twice by police before his arrest last November - and since then he has been in a prison in the region's principal town of Albi.

Barbara Bullen, a friend of Lund's who has been looking after his house since his arrest, has told the Evening Telegraph they were no nearer finding out when he would stand trial.

She said: "He still hasn't had a court date, but he is being kept in prison all this time.

And under French law, prisoners do not receive breakfast unless they pay for it. They also have to pay for other luxuries, including toilet roll and a heater to warm their food.

Lund may be guilty.

But he may be innocent. And, with that in mind, to be kept in prison for the best part of a year without the prospect of a trial on the horizon is unacceptable, especially for a nation which prides itself on the principle of liberty.