QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
B e f o r e :
|THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF DAWSON, ATKINSON, WILLISON||(CLAIMANT)|
|CROWN COURT AT NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE||(DEFENDANT)|
MR C PRINCE (instructed by Crown Prosecution Service) appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT
Crown Copyright ©
"I consider the case of Bowron. It is apparent that not disclosing the video has not caused any delay; one of the arguments advanced. I found a lack of due diligence because I made a specific order in respect of Bowron for the CPS to provide copies of the video tape within seven days."
"The Act of 1985 and the Regulations of 1987, as amended, have three overriding purposes: (1) to ensure that the periods for which unconvicted defendants are held in custody awaiting trial are as short as reasonably and practically possible; (2) to oblige the prosecution to prepare cases for trial with all due diligence and expedition; and (3) to invest the court with a power and duty to control any extension of the maximum period under the regulations for which any person may be held in custody awaiting trial."
"What the court must require is such diligence and expedition as would be shown by a competent prosecutor conscious of his duty to bring the case to trial as quickly as reasonably and fairly possible. In considering whether the standard is met, the court will of course have regard to the nature and complexity of case, the extent of preparation necessary, the conduct (whether co-operative or obstructive) of the defence, the extent to which the prosecutor is dependent on the co-operation of others outside his control and other matters directly and genuinely bearing on the preparation of the case for trial."
"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 reason 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 insuring 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."
"If a trial date is fixed within the custody time limit period (as will almost always, one hopes, be the case) a prosecutor must comply closely with his duty to accomplish expeditiously each stage of the prosecution process; otherwise the trial date may be lost and if he seeks an extension to a trial date outside the custody time limit period then an extension is likely to be refused. It would appear to me that there is very little scope for delay by a prosecutor in such a situation. If, however, in the context of a larger, heavier and more complex case, a trial date is fixed from the outset beyond the custody time limit period, then it still appears to me that there is no charter to a prosecutor to delay because if a prosecutor does delay, and if, as a result, a defendant can plausibly claim not to be ready for trial, and on that ground seeks and obtains an adjournment, and if the prosecutor then seeks an extension of the custody time limit, then again the extension will be denied because the court would not be satisfied of the requirement in Section 22(3)(b)."