Paul Cameron and Natalie Bird of 2 Bedford Row were instructed on a private basis to represent Mr H at Staines Magistrates Court.
On the 1st day of trial we made submissions in relation to the lack of CPS compliance with Court directions and repeated Defence requests for disclosure relating to the complainant’s bad character.
In Court, the prosecution explained that both prosecution witnesses had attended Court, though they conceded that Bark&co had requested seven items of disclosure and yet only two had been supplied.
We demonstrate the lack of CPS compliance in contrast to the Defence’s diligent approach in attempting to prevent the trial from being ineffective. We drew the Court’s attention to the Magistrates Court Disclosure review which makes it plain that if the fault is clearly at the door of the Prosecution (as it is here), then it is the Prosecution who must make the application for an adjournment to comply with its obligations, and that if the application to adjourn was refused, the consequence must be that the prosecution should offer no evidence.
The Prosecution then responded, conceding all that we had said, and they made an application to adjourn in the interests of justice. We then responded, opposing the application and drawing the Court’s attention to the principles laid down in the cases of Picton and Visvaratnam and highlighting that our client was a 51 year old man of entirely good character who wanted this matter to be at an end after nearly a year since the alleged incident.
The Bench then retired briefly, and returned to refuse the prosecution’s application to adjourn, remarking as follows: “The CPS have asked for an adjournment in this case as they have failed to comply with repeated requests for disclosure. The Defence sent six letters before they received a response and only then two out of the seven items requested were supplied. A seventh letter was sent, with no response. The alleged offence was almost a year ago. To adjourn would cause even more delays with no guarantee that the CPS would respond, so it is in the interests of justice not to grant the adjournment.”
The Prosecution accordingly offered no evidence and the case against Mr H was dismissed.