Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Of An Altogether Waste of a Day

I was in London today to give evidence for the prosecution in an asault case. We were all warmed up and ready to go when the prosecutor walked in and told us that the defendant was pleading guilty afterall. He explained that the defence solicitor had written three days ago to inform the CPS but had sent the letter to the wrong court which is why he had only just that moment found out about it. Quite apart from the fact that the defence lawyer had had over three months to talk some sense into his client and then enter a guilty plea, the wrong address saga had cost the state thousands. For me alone to be there the bill ran to flights, a night in a four star hotel, taxi and train fares. This never a got a mention in court either publically or once the judges had retired.

The defendant had assaulted a guy following a road rage incident. Rather ironically the victim was a criminal defence solicitor and the guy passing who witnessed it and got in between it all (moi) just so happened to be a former criminal defence barrister. As the saying goes he should choose his fights more carefully.

I have never seen such a poor address to the Bench by a prosecuting lawyer relating to a guilty plea in my life (and I've seen many poor ones).

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