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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The South Eastern Circuit
1. 5 hours
2. Hendon Magistrates’ Court
3. Police failed to tell Serco to collect defendant from police station, police arrange to transport him to court. Arrived at 1.10pm, not allowed into cells until 2pm. Make enquiries for bail hostel, Probation confirm place available in East Midlands but defendant will need to get there by 6pm as it was now 4pm, unlikely. Defendant remanded in custody.
4. R v Hicks
Birmingham Crown Court R v Webley
21.6.13 PCMH. Trial date in August confirmed.
27.6.13 Case listed for mention for prosecution to break fixture. OIC not available on trial date (on holiday). Prosecution had not had that information provided at hearing on 21.6.13. Hearing today could therefore have been avoided. 10 – 15 minutes court time wasted.
Snaresbrook Crown Court. R v Miah. S.18 GBH. Case listed at 11.30am. Interpreter did not attend until 2pm. This was the 2nd listing for PCMH. At the last hearing no interpreter had been booked by the court. waiting time 21/2 hrs (case listed at 10am adjourned at 12.30pm).
Blackfriars Crown Court. Court 3. 27th June. Trial part heard last night to continue at 10.00 this morning. Interpreter fails to reappear. Enquiries reveal he’s double booked and gone to the mags somewhere. Replacement interpreter arrives at 12.00!
Trial at Woolwich in May (in the new section) Jury in deliberation send a note at 3 pm stating that three of them felt faint because they had not had lunch. When Judge asks what on earth is happening he is informed that there are no catering facilities available to juries in retirement in the new section and that they should have been told to bring in their own lunches but the person who was meant to have told them was obviously off that day. Deliberations had to be adjourned whilst supplies were obtained from the Tescos over the road.
Yesterday at Isleworth. Prelim on more serious matter than average. Hindi interpreter booked for 10.30 am . Message at Court at that time that Hindi interpreter could not attend because “had taken another booking that morning and was over runnning”. Court could not give me an ETA for over an hour during which time they contacted an independent agency who said they could have an interpreter there for 1.30 pm for 2 pm (Original matter listed at 11 am for all of ten minutes). In meantime I could not communicate effectively with the client who was understandably anxious and could not undertake work elsewhere. Too typical to mention but for this website. Defence Counsel
Thames Magistrates Court 26.06.2013
No overnight court files available until 12pm.
All overnight custodies delayed until then.
Birmingham 17/6/13 robbery 89 year old man. First day behind sentences so jury sworn late. Court also being used for another trial with a different judge so delays on first and second day resulted in complainant giving evidence on afternoon of second day. Time wasted 1.5 days.
Wolverhampton 15/5/13 Peter Green s16 Firearms Act. At 320 adjourned as not enough jurors. Jury sworn next afternoon and sent home. On 17/5/13 prison didn’t produce Defendant and eventually adjourned at 230. On 20/5 Defendant given incorrect medication so adjourned to afternoon. Prosecution witnesses called at 230 and all finished by 355. Next day adjourned at 230 due to non availability of defence witness due to longstanding medical appointment. Actually therefore in court for less than a day but delays by court and prison account for remaining wasted time to make a 6 day trial
Wolverhampton crown court.
Regina v B
Get up in the morning, get dressed, 50 miles round trip to court, pay for parking for a matter listed for sentence post a Newton hearing before a judge that did not hear the Newton. When the matter was originally set for sentence the judge reserved the case to self but seems no body at the court bothered to note that, notwithstanding the fact that it would be pretty obvious, but original judge not sitting today. Sentence adjourned to a date in July. No representations could have been made yesterday as Wolverhampton crown court don’t bother to publish the court list on Courtserve until after 17.30, sometimes it’s not even done till after 18.00. Total pay for today £zero.
Isleworth CC – T20121258 – Should have been an indictment jointly charging 2 men with burglary. Attend PCMH 22/11/12 CPS no draft indictment and no papers. Court no papers and no production of co-Defendant (in custody). Adjourned to 13/12/12 for court to produce co-defendant. 13/12 still no sign of co-defendant and CPS serve large bundle of telephone evidence, unsorted and no analysis last minute. Adjourned to 24/1/13 for PCMH to allow defence to consider evidence and for court to produce co-defendant. 24/1/13 co-defendant still not produced so defendant arraigned at third time of asking.
Burnley Crown Court 17th May 2013 – Full day POCA hearing, in a fraud worth 1.5 million, due to be listed as per directions made on 13th Dec 2012.
In fact, as HHJ mid-trial, the list office informed the parties the day before that the case would only be listed for ‘about an hour’ at 2pm. At court parties told that HHJ would not be able to hear the case until 3pm. As this time allocation was wholly insufficient HHJ however agreed at 12.55pm to adjourn the case to a new date, time estimate still a day. Now to be heard in Oct 2013 in Lancaster.
Additionally, when the list office contacted the parties prior to the hearing it became apparent that the court had not given HHJ the 8 lever arch files of agreed papers in this case in any event. The papers having been sent to Preston CC (the administrative CC centre for the area, the trial location and the correspondence address for Burnley CC) by 28th March 2013, but not provided to HHJ by the court.
9 day sex case. At least a day lost due a) court equipment to play VRIs breaking down b) incompatibility of court equipment – nothing wrong with discs which had been checked c) in availability of staff d) missing court clerk b/c listing put wrong time on court list e) in availability of jury bailiff at end of summing up f) jury bailiff finished work at 4 so jury sent home early
A week in the life of …
Leicester Crown Court: R v Wayne Thomas 20/6/13 was a 2 day case listed on a Thursday at 12 noon after a lot of other work. It was reached at about 2.15pm. The case was ready to proceed to trial. The Court could only provide a jury panel of 13. They were all second week jurors. Because of the late start there was a possibility the case would run into the following Monday. 3 jurors had good reasons why they could not work into a third week leaving insufficient jurors to form a panel. The case could therefore not be heard. The Judge (HHJ Hammond) was very critical of the court service in open court (recorded on the DARTS system). The fee for prosecuting the case for 2 days would only have been £480 – not a huge amount of money. As a result of the courts failings I will only receive £50 for my preparation and my day in court. I also missed out on the fee for working on that case on the Friday. It costs me £50 per working day to remain a member of chambers at my call. Effective earnings for Thursday = £0. The £10 train fare to get to Leicester from Nottingham leaves me out of pocket for that working day.
Mark Achurch: 1 High Pavement, Nottingham
Blackfriars Crown Court
17th-28th June: Sexual Touching case listed merely as “warned” over 2 week period. Fixture declined despite nature of allegation and private payer
17th June: Listed as “fixed floater” with no Ws. A court became available at @2.30pm but no Ws present on Judge’s direction. Hence court sat about 40mins that day and Court rose early
18th June: Ws not been warned to attend and had to be brought to court urgently. Delay in starting till12.15
Listing as floater & not having Ws at court on 2 consec days extended trial duration in excess of 2 days
25th June Gloucester Crown Court, as CPS were over 2 weeks late in serving papers and had not replied to correspondence requesting service of same. Case listed for mention and wasted costs, new timetable set and Wasted Costs application adjourned to trial date.
Bristol Crown Court Listed for sentence on 7th June CPS not served draft SOPO despite having been told to do so by DJ when committing for sentence case had to be adjourned for 2 weeks wasted costs applied for.
Case came back to court on 21st June Still no SOPO from CPS so Had drafted one myself to ensure no further adjournment. Judge very thankful and made wasted costs order against CPS.
Sitting as Recorder at Isleworth Crown on 7/5/13, trial listed ( cannot recall name- see daily list) delayed half a day because Urdu interpreter unsatisfactory. Replacement fine but on 10/5 (trial part heard) lost further 45 minutes because Agency sent same interpreter to cover 2 different courtrooms at Isleworth.
Ipswich CC. R v G Defendant with obvious mental health issues charged with attempt robbery
31.1.13 – prelim; def. not produced from custody – unfit.
14.2.13 – def. produced, pleads and case adjourned for PSR to mid March
25.3.13 – sentence adjourned for psychiatric report
13.5.13 – no report because LSC will not accept supervising psychiatrist’s quote and psych will not work at court rates. Adjourned to find different psychiatrist.
12.6.13 – re-listed – no psychiatrist willing to produce the report at the rate offered. Further adjourned
24.6.13 – defendant sentenced without a report on the basis that under the sentencing guidelines he has served his sentence
Isleworth Crown Court – – – T20127781 – REGINA -V- SINGH Manbreet, SINGH Dalip & SINGH Kuldeep – 21st March 2013. After 9 days of evidence jury had to be discharged after a punjabi speaking juror raised serious concerns re the accuracy of the punjabi interpreter.
RE-trial later this year