QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
B e f o r e :
|THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF MOHAMMED AZIZUL HAQUE||(CLAIMANT)|
|CENTRAL CRIMINAL COURT||(DEFENDANT)|
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(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
MR ROBIN SELLARS (instructed by Crown Prosecution Service) appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT
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, but the court shall not do so unless it is satisfied --
(a) that the need for the extension is due to --
(i) the illness or absence of the accused, a necessary witness, a judge or a magistrate;
(ii) a postponement which is occasioned by the ordering by the court of separate trials in the case of two or more accused or two or more offences; or
(iii) some other good and sufficient cause; and
(b) that the prosecution has acted with all due diligence and expedition."
"It is vital that our own analysis is carried out in order to determine whether or not firstly that is blood, but secondly, whether or not the distribution is such as whether to be likely as the result of contact with Mr Haque or some other form of lodging of the DNA on the training shoes in that way."
"The court made plain in ex parte McDonald, as indeed is plain on the face of the statute, that when seeking an extension or a further extension of a custody time limit the Crown must show that there is good and sufficient for making the extension and that it has acted with all due expedition. What, however, was not made plain in ex parte McDonald (because the question did not arise) is that these two provisions are in my judgment linked. It is not in doubt that the Crown must show proper grounds for keeping a defendant in prison awaiting trial for a period longer than the statutory maximum. But the Crown must also show that such an extension is not sought because it has shown insufficient vigour in preparing the case for trial. Put crudely, the prosecution cannot prepare for trial in a dilatory and negligent manner and then come to the court to seek an extension of the custody time limit because the prosecution is not ready for trial. Nor, if the effect of its dilatoriness is to put the defence in a position where the defence is not ready for the trial can the Crown seek an extension and show that it has acted with all due expedition. It is in the ordinary way the business of the prosecution to be ready. If therefore the Crown is seeking an extension of the time limit it must show that the need for the extension does not arise from lack of due expedition or due diligence on its part. It seems clear to me, however, that the requirement of due expedition or due diligence or both is not a disciplinary provision. It is not there to punish prosecutors for administrative lapses; it is there to protect defendants by ensuring that they are kept in prison awaiting trial no longer than is justifiable. That is why due expedition is called for. The court is not in my view obliged to refuse the extension of a custody time limit because the prosecution is shown to have been guilty of avoidable delay where that delay has had no effect whatever on the ability of the prosecution and the defence to be ready for trial on a predetermined trial date."
"I repeat that I can see no reason why Parliament should have wished to oblige the court to refuse an extension of a custody time limit because there has been some avoidable delay, even where this has not had any effect on the beneficial object which the statute is intended to achieve, namely the objective of keeping defendants in prison awaiting trial for no longer than is justifiable."
"35. As a matter of law, he was right to approach this case by focusing on what had caused the postponement. The courts have said several times that a lack of due diligence and expedition on some matters will not prevent an extension of the custody time limits if that is not the cause of the need for the extension . . .
"36. In my view, one has to have regard to what were the factors, or in particular the principal factor, which led to the need for the custody time limits to be extended."