Crown ordered to disclose
(CNS): Following the failure of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to disclose important information to defence attorneys, a mounting number of cases are being delayed in the Grand Court. The crown’s failure on Friday to disclose critical information regarding an arson case by the date of a plea and directions hearing brought the situation to a head and an acting judge issued a court order giving the crown just seven days to disclose critical information and giving the defence lawyer the right to make an application to shut down the case against his client if they failed to respond.
Justice Carol Beswick raised concerns about the issue when she discovered that the lawyer, Nick Hoffman from Priestleys, had been requesting information since May for the hearing and had received nothing from the DPP’s office. This was not the first case for Hoffman, who in the last few weeks has complained to the court on numerous occasions about the prosecution’s failure to disclose or making disclosure at the eleventh hour, hindering and delaying the progression of serious criminal matters. Friday’s case was also one of many others this week held by various local defence attorneys that had to be adjourned because of a lack of documentation to support the criminal charges.
Hoffman told the court that he had been corresponding with the crown asking for the information since May. He said on the 9 August he received an email from a member of the DPP’s office who had said her “hands were tied” but she was sure disclosure would be made to the lawyer before the 14 September hearing. However, Hoffman said that was the last he heard from the crown.
He warned that the trial of Sven Connor for arson, which was set for November, was in jeopardy as the defence still didn’t know the full details of the case, which was not only a problem for the courts and the witnesses and lawyers involved but more so for his client, who remains on remand at Northward.
“I am more than a little concerned,” the judge stated as she pointed to the crown counsel’s reference to her hands being tied as she waited on information from a police officer in the case. “Is it that her hands are tied?” the judge queried as she pressed the crown counsel in court Friday for a plan.
The judge said she could understand the tremendous concerns that the defence had before she issued the court order compelling the crown to disclose, failing which, she said, Hoffman was at liberty to make a suitable application. Hoffman confirmed that he would be seeking to have the case dropped against his client if the information was not forthcoming.
Hoffman was not the only defence attorney seeking disclosure from the crown Friday as numerous cases over the last few weeks have been stalled. A significant number of cases are backing up in the Grand Court as a result of the failure of the DPP’s office to give the necessary documentation to the defence attorneys of the defendants that they are prosecuting for a catalogue of offences, from murder to rape. There have also been numerous complaints by attorneys that their correspondence to the crown goes unanswered.
Fiona Robinson, who was also struggling to get information for her client who is facing charges of attempted murder, pointed out that “disclosure is a right and not a luxury”, as she asked the crown once again for the details of its case against her client.
- Condo for rent
- George Town Landfill to close early
- Grand Court Juror Report Date Changed
- Government Schools Begin Registration
- Church Street Closed to All Vehicular Traffic
- On Sales : Samsung Galaxy SIV / Apple iPhone 5 64GB
- Sales On: Apple iPhone 5 32GB, Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III / Galaxy S4 Buy 2 get 1 free
- Affordable South Side Home for Sale
- house for rent
- car for sale
The comments posted do not necessarily reflect the views of CNS or any individual staff member. All comments are posted subject to approval by CNS. Read more
- I think behaviour such as
35 min 32 sec ago
- Take not notice of these
41 min 12 sec ago
- please the only udp am not
41 min 45 sec ago
- Nice, but all I really want
44 min 24 sec ago
- me too.
46 min 3 sec ago
- Please explain why this
51 min 17 sec ago
- The family will follow the
56 min 13 sec ago
- I just voted , but not one
1 hour 6 min ago
- A rat backed into a corner
1 hour 15 min ago
- Voted for
1 hour 30 min ago