QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
London WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
MR JUSTICE AIKENS
|MANCHESTER CROWN COURT||Defendant|
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Mr A Farrow (instructed by CPS Manchester) appeared on behalf of the Defendant
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"What then of the period up until 9th March? With the benefit of hindsight and approaching this case on the basis that everything would be done perfectly and considered perfectly at the first opportunity, on that approach, it does seem to me that there would be force in the submissions that things could have been done more quickly. It could be said that the police, notwithstanding that they had direct identification evidence, could more quickly have considered the usefulness of cell site evidence. It could be said that notwithstanding the unavailability of Detective Superintendent Dudridge, perhaps some slightly shorter period could have been achieved before the application in respect of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act matter was finally authorised.
But, counsel of perfection is not the test which I have to apply. That test was set out in the speech or the judgment of Lord Chief Justice Bingham, as he then was, in the familiar ex parte McDonald case which is frequently cited in relation to applications of this kind."
The judge was there referring to R v Manchester Crown Court ex parte McDonald  1 Cr.App.R 409. He quoted the following passage from the judgment of Lord Bingham at page 414 C to E:
"To satisfy the court that this condition is met, the prosecution need not show that every stage of representation of the case has been accomplished as quickly and efficiently as humanly possible. That would be an impossible standard to meet, particularly when the court which reviews the history of the case enjoys the immeasurable benefit of hindsight. Nor should the history be approached on the unreal assumption that all involved on the prosecution side have been able to give the case in question their undivided attention.
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 that standard is met, the court will of course have regard to the nature and complexity of the case, the extent of preparation necessary, the conduct, whether cooperative or obstructive of the defence, the extent to which the prosecutor is dependent on the cooperation of others outside his control and other matters directly and genuinely bearing on the preparation of the case for trial."
The judge concluded with these words:
"And it seems to me that, taking into account, in particular, the way in which the possibility of cell site evidence came into play, the fact that the police did already have evidence on which they intended to rely and which, if accepted of course, would constitute a valid case against the defendant, taking into account all of the submissions that have been made, I conclude that applying the principles explained by Lord Bingham to this case, the prosecution have acted with due diligence and expedition in relation to the obtaining and service of the report which prompted the need for the adjournment."