Monday, August 15, 2005

What a waste!

A few weeks ago I was chatting to colleagues over the lunch break and one bench was clearly far from gruntled. They had spent a totally frustrating half-day and achieved nothing, and the problems that they suffered were so typical that I made a note of them.

10 a.m. Case 1: (Common Assault x 2, Criminal Damage).

Victim withdrew evidence. Police and CPS spent 1 hour in discussion - offered no evidence. Case dismissed.

11 a.m. Case 2: CPS couldn't find their file. Finally located it at 12 noon, defendant hasn't turned up, case proved in absence.

12 noon. Case 3: Defence lawyer (counsel) had not turned up. Case adjourned to join up with co-defendant, trial set for September.

12 noon. Case 4: No police witnesses, because they had been warned to attend on a different date. Defendant failed to turn up - phoned to say he is unwell, told to get medical certificate. Case put off for 7 days to set new trial date.

1 p.m. Bench drink coffee, eat sandwiches, grumble, and go home.

It's a great waste of time and money when this happens, but every magistrate will recognise the situation.

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