Operation Disclosure trial goes on – and on….

October 31, 2013 by combehavendefenders


Emily outside Westminster Magistrates’ Court

If there was one word which could sum up the Combe Haven 19 trial experiences so far, it would be ‘adjournment’.  Almost without exception, trials have overrun and been adjourned to later dates. Trial 5, for instance, was supposed to conclude in the first week of October, but because of previous trials overrunning, it was adjourned until the end of January (all the current trial dates are here.)

Emily’s trial, for aggravated trespass at the Department for Transport during Operation Disclosure, has been no exception, except that rather than other trials overrunning, the delays in her case have been down to the incompetence of the Crown Prosecution Service and the court.

The problem in Emily’s case has been the supposed impossibility of assembling the vital three elements – court, judge, prosecutor – all in the same place at the same time.  On the first trial date, 11 October, there was no court and no judge until the afternoon, so the prosecution case was heard but there was insufficient time for Emily’s defence.

It was adjourned to 30 October, and Emily and supporters turned up to find there was a courtroom, and a judge, but no prosecutor.  He had gone AWOL and after several hours of trying to track him down, the judge concluded that the case would have to be adjourned again.  He turned down Emily’s suggestion that the case should either be thrown out, or they should continue without the prosecutor, but did say that it was ‘completely unacceptable’ that the case had to be adjourned again. He suggested that he would award Emily costs at the next hearing, whatever the outcome of the case.

And so the case drags on.  The new date is Monday 13 January, 2pm, this time at Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court.  Let’s hope this will be the final episode.

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