If you have recently experienced a delay in a criminal court please take a moment to leave a short reply below which explains:
(1) How long the delay was;
(2) When and in which court it happened;
(3) What caused the delay;
(4) The case name, if disclosable (please respect any reporting restrictions which may be in place).
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Please do try to ensure the accuracy of any information provided as the purpose of this exercise will be frustrated if the Ministry of Justice is presented with unreliable data.
The South Eastern Circuit
2 cases in the last 2 weeks at Sheffield Crown Court:
i. Murphy – Trial vacated for the 2nd time in a month. On the first occasion no court to hear the case. On the 2nd occasion it had “been listed without prosecution availability” (it hadn’t – I had attended listing personally and the officer assured me that he had it.)
ii. Ward – Trial vacated as no court to hear the case. Client in custody. Re-listed 17/8.
This is commonplace now at Sheffield. Mr Gove please help?
Two days running prison failed to produce one of two defendants 3 counsel and one courtroom two wasted days, no-one accountable no-one who will pay for this St Albans Crown Court.
In April ’14 Client fd guilty of various offences of indecency against youths. On arrest his computer and phone were taken. Due to insuff funds, interrogation delayed and tho relevant, not used to support prosecution. PCMH September 14 downloading indecent images and trial on Monday March 2nd. NAEs including pros expert evidence ‘served’ which pros col emailed Friday before. Argued unfair as defence needed their own expert.
Adjourned further 6 weeks and at subsequent hearing Pros. asked for more time to consider Defence experts… trial now adjourned to Jan 2016. I have argued that as D got three years for indecency in linked proceedings no public interest n recalling youths for further trial in Jan 2016 when if found guilty sentence could only be lesser and concurrent.
Delay caused to my case earlier this week was 2 hours at York Magistrates’ Court due to an insufficient number of prosecutors at court, this left one court without a prosecutor until a prosecutor in another court had finished their list. CPS management decision was not to send another prosecutor to cover sick leave absence. My case was delayed two hours. Two alleged breaches of bail in the same court (not my cases) expired.
Three months and counting
Lewes Crown Court
Appeal of LB A 2015 32
Case listed for 1 day hearing of appeal. Listed ON 30 March 2015 FOR 29 May.
28 May case pulled from list because court has too much other work on. Now relisted for 28 August.
Oblique case but typical.
Special measures sex case. DVD of ABE interview delivered (this alone taking two visits by senior lawyer (well thats what I call myself) to the PS to sign for it). Room booked and paid for to see bail client to run through it. I reserve the day; he takes a day off work, ditto his mum. DVD sound collapses at minute nine on the disc and is unplayable. Delay of two whole weeks to obtain replacement.
Brighton Crown Court. 15 June 2015. R v SC. T 2013 640 (yes twenty thirteen case) for trial on s18. Day one Recorder sick with temp of 102. Court can’t try the case – fair enough; but then we are made the priority floater and made to wait until 1510 to be released to another Judge tomorrow, despite it being clear from the list that there is no chance of being heard anywhere today.
Brighton Magistrates Court – my partners case. Public Order trial due to start at 1000, commences at 1250. When it does, the Police Officer witnesses have been dragged outside the court house to deal with another public order case taking place in the street. R v SS. 26 June 2015
Hove Crown Court 23 June 2015. Three handed robbery/false imprisonment case. Due to be tried from Monday 29 June. One week out from start date very light unused material. Readiness hearing held at which stand in prosecutor holds the file, no OIC present, nobody has anything on which to work before trial and none delivered. Case put back to Friday 26 June for all to re-attend for service of stuff one working day before the trial scheduled to start. Two hearings cluttering up court list to settle what Postman Pat could have achieved last month.
Hove Crown Court. Rape case. Defendant a foreign national. I’m there from 0815; D there from 0910; interpreter there from 0930 but does not tell anyone he’s there until I happen to find him 70 minutes later. Me and D sit looking at each other instead of working. Interpreter says he reported in but no one in court staff thought to tell me. T 2015 7081
Case listed for App to Dismiss at Croydon Crown Court. 2 Defendants. Case first listed for hearing on Monday 22nd June by written direction of Judge. Removed by court with out even telling the defence late on Friday before. Relisted on the 26th June at 12 noon. I rang the court on the 25th to make sure court was fully aware case listed for App to Dismiss. Yes. Today called on at 3.00pm. Judge indicates he doesn’t have any of the prosecution statements/exhibits. Prosecution Counsel copies papers and case called back on at 3.30. Case adjourned until 29th June as HHJ doesn’t have sufficient time to read papers etc ! Over 130 pages. Absolutely no critiscim of Judge. Of course he’d need time to read the papers. Defendants in custody.
I arrived at court at 11.15 and achieved absolutely nothing. Whole day wasted!
Saturday morning remand court, just gone. Romanian interpreter booked by police for non English speaking deft in cusody. By 12.30pm no interpreter. Case put over till Monday afternoon and dft RIC.
Monday afternoon , HMP failed to produce defendant. Case adj to Tuesday for video link . 15 min conference scheduled (- bear in mind defendant speaks no English and no legal aid application has been completed as unable to do so without an interpreter) prior to hearing. Inevitable application to adjourn and produce. Three wasted hearings.
Nottingham magistrates court.
I was at bury mags 24.6.15. Client in cells having been charged with s.4 racially agd dating back to oct 14 and a more recent s4 from two days earlier when he was arrested for the earlier matter ( he kicked off woth the cops allegedly) we waited until 3pm from 9.30 because the CpS had no file and the court had no papers due to te police failing to send a file. Eventuay it was adjourned rather than progress being made.
R v P sentence hearing Portsmouth Crown Court 24/06/15 court 1 listed 1000 to be heard before part heard trial resuming at 1030. D profoundly deaf and signing interpreter required (today’s hearing date fixed on Friday 19/06/15 so definitively known then interpreter required). Unable to be heard at 1000 as interpreter only booked today at 0930 so eta 1100. To avoid inter posing in trial sentence could not be heard until 1200 so delay of 2 hours. 1000-1030 slot wasted. D, defence counsel, trainee solicitor and pros counsel all had to wait for case to be heard. Trial then delayed whilst sentence heard.
Hendon magistrates court today. Client arrested on a warrant. Not produced at this court as cells are full, bearing in mind it takes the custody cases of three courts. He is being held at one of the others until there is space. At the end of the morning no sign of client and I have finished my bail cases. Caĺl that minimum five hour delay even if he here at 2pm.
Westminster Magistrates Court today. First case called today a man charged with s.5 public order representing himself. 90 minutes later court manages to secure a not guilty plea and fixes a trial date making the most horrendous job of case management. Leaving the other 20 defendants and their lawyers waiting. Out of ten courts in this flagship court house, I am told this is the only one taking bail remand cases. My case put over to afternoon with minimum four hour delay.