QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
B e f o r e :
|THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF PIERENS||(CLAIMANT)|
|MIDDLESEX GUILDHALL CROWN COURT||(DEFENDANT)|
|HM CUSTOMS & EXCISE||(INTERESTED PARTY)|
Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited
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(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
The DEFENDANT did not attend and was not represented
MR BUDWORTH (instructed by HM CUSTOMS & EXCISE) appeared on behalf of the INTERESTED PARTY
Crown Copyright ©
"The appropriate court may, at any time before the expiry of a time limit imposed by the regulations, extend, or further extend, that limit if it is satisfied -- (a) that there is good and sufficient cause for doing so; and (b) that the prosecution has acted with all due expedition."
There are two separate and distinct conditions for the exercise of the discretion created by that provision. The second, that "the prosecution has acted with all due expedition", is one which Mr Fidler, who appears on behalf of the claimant, has conceded before me, as he conceded before HHJ Matheson, was satisfied in the present case. The issue raised by Mr Fidler is whether the judge was entitled to find that there was good and sufficient cause for extending the time limit in this case.
"Assuming he [Mr Fidler] is right that the court -- and apparently there was some error and the transmission of the document was overlooked. The amount of time which can be attributed to that is certainly relatively small in the overall pattern of things, but that is not something to be brushed aside, of course, because one is dealing with the circumstances of somebody being kept in custody.
"However, it seems to me that, whatever may be said, the reason for the prolonged delay now in this trial is simply that the defence have asked for the case to be stood out and have asked on separate occasions for enquiries to be set in hand by means of the letter of request procedure first to Holland and then to Belgium. That, as a matter of fact, is the reason why this case has not been called on for trial and disposed of one way or another many, many month ago.
"It is not a question of whether it is the fault of the defendant, but the delay has been granted at the request of the defendant in order that enquiries which the defendant's legal representatives consider to be relevant and important to the conduct of his defence should be made.
"I am afraid I take a short view that that is good and sufficient cause for extending the custody time limits and I propose to do so."