QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
B e f o r e :
|THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF HAMID ATEEK KHAN||(CLAIMANT)|
|WOLVERHAMPTON CROWN COURT||(DEFENDANT)|
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MR N POROAS (instructed by CPS, Wolverhampton) appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT
Crown Copyright ©
"On the Monday things came into the court list which they confidently expected would not be proceeded with, but which were and became trials, and as a result, they ended up without a court to put it into."
"Could another phone call be made please to inquire why on 1 August the matter was to remain as a fixture for the 5th and yet it came out on the 4th?"
"Your Honour, the art of the listing office is to balance the probabilities and on 1 August they were confident they would have space for it. On the Monday things came into the court list which they confidently expected would not be proceeded with, but which were and became trials, and as a result they ended up without a court to be put into."
No further inquiry took place.
"In my judgment, there is a need for extension which is due to some good and sufficient cause."
"The art of clerking barristers, just as that of listing in Crown Court, is an art, it is not a science, it is not capable of precise prediction. It is a judgment which has to be exercised and I am satisfied that the judgment which was exercised in this case on 1 August that this matter could be dealt with on the 5th, was one made bone fide and on reasonable grounds -- I repeat, on reasonable grounds -- and that the circumstances changed in an unforseen way on 4 August, which occupied the court and the judge time, making the expected availability no longer viable for this case."
"Has no role whatever in deciding whether in any case an extension should be granted or not. Its only role . . . is to see whether the decision in question is open to successful challenge on any of the familiar grounds which support a application for judicial review."
He also observed that this court should show restraint about disturbing first instance decisions of this kind.
"This Court has been provided with no information about the exigencies of the other case. I do not know whether if that fixture had been broken and that case adjourned, difficulties over custody time limits would have arisen remotely comparable to the difficulties in this case. I do not know what reasons for maintaining the other fixture might have been more pressing than the obvious reasons for maintaining this one.
"I bear strictly in mind that I am exercising the High Court's supervisory jurisdiction and not myself deciding whether there was good or sufficient cause. But, in my judgment, this is a very stark case. In such a case as this, it is incumbent on the Crown Court or the prosecutor respondent to place material before this Court upon which it may be satisfied that it was reasonable, within the limits of the Wednesbury principle, to hold that there was good and sufficient cause for the extension to be granted . . .
"I am not prepared to assume, on the material I have, there must have been a good and sufficient cause here . . .
"There is not sufficient material before me to allow me to decide that the extension granted was based on a reasonable view of good and sufficient cause and I therefore hold that it was not."
"Although unavailability of a judge or courtroom could be good and sufficient cause to extend custody time limits, it was for the prosecution to put before the judge reasons why it was not possible in a sensible world to try the case before the date listed. The judge then had to make a rigorous examination of the circumstances. That inevitably should have led to an inquiry into why it was said to be impossible to have an earlier trial date."
"It has been emphasised on many occasions that applications for custody time limit extensions must be scrutinised carefully since they involve infringement of the defendant's liberty beyond the maximum time prescribed by statute. The scrutiny ought, it is submitted, to be at its most rigorous where the application is based on the unavailability of a court (see also R v Central Criminal Court ex parte Abu-Wardeh  1 WLR 1083).
"The courts have held, although reluctantly, that the unavailability of a suitable judge or a suitable courtroom within the maximum period . . . may, in special cases and on appropriate facts, amount to good and sufficient cause for granting an extension."
"It seems to me that it is quite impossible to say that an error made by the court, or indeed by anyone, is incapable of giving rise to a need to extend custody time limits within the meaning of section 22(3). Everything will depend upon the circumstances of a particular case. But I do take the view that if delay is caused by administrative error, then the court must do everything that it conceivably can to minimise the effect of that error so that if there are difficulties in listing a case which has had to be put out because of such an error, those difficulties will not prevail with the court unless it can be shown that they really are insuperable. Secondly, as it seems to me, the judge who decides whether there is a need to extend must have regard to the nature of the error which has led to the request for an extension. If it be an administrative error, then he will be the less easily persuaded that it amounts to a good and sufficient cause for an extension. However, I reject the submission that it is incapable in law of amounting to a good and sufficient reason."