Oliver Kirk Profile picture
May 11, 2018 20 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
I'm going to tell you a (true) story about the Criminal Justice System.

In May 2016, 2 young men went out with their friends for a night out. They had a pleasant evening, a few drinks (not too many) and were on their way home when they came across a man who had had too many.
There was a fight, and the other man suffered a serious head injury. Thankfully he survived but could not recall the incident / how he had been injured.

An investigation started: both young men were interviewed and said that they had been attacked and were defending themsleves.
This is not, sadly, an unusual scenario for the CJS to have to deal with.

Neither of the young men had been in any trouble before and neither had a lawyer during the investigation. They didn't think they would need one.
The investigation went on for 6 months at which point both were summoned to appear in the Magistrates Court in Jan 2017.
So far, unremarkable.

They were charged with S18 GBH with intent and sent to the Crown Court. A trial was fixed for September 2017.
By now both had solicitors, and statements were taken from their friends who ,oddly, the police had not spoken to during their investigation.

And so we were ready for trial in September.
However, despite the trial being fixed, there was no Judge available to hear it.

Case adjourned. Witnesses, barristers and the defendants and their families all told to come back another day. In November.
November comes, and back to Court we all go.

Oh dear. The principal prosecution witness is abroad. He cannot return. Not yet, anyway.

Case adjourned. Witnesses, barristers and the defendants to to come back another day. In March 2018.
During all of this, time the young men lives are on hold. Their lives are in the balance. If they are found guilty, they WILL get very long sentences. No matter how much they say that they are innocent, there remains the chance that they might be found guilty.
Imagine the pressure. That sick feeling in the stomach every day, every time you, or your family think of what might happen.
March arrives.

The night before the trial...

And email...

There are no Judges available to hear the case.

In order not to waste time, it will not be listed, but a new trial date will be found.
That date was in September this year.

So why am I telling you this story now?
Because that trial is not happening.

In fact it isn't going to happen at all.


Because the prosecution have dropped the case.

Because, it seems, their witnesses were fed up and refused to come to Court again.
Now that MIGHT be for any number of reasons, but I think we all really know why.

Because the system let them down, or ground them down.
Nobody achieved Justice here.

The young man I represented is, of course relieved and thankful; but he has had this nightmare invoking for 2 years.
Not to mention the injured man.

What might be think about all of this? Has he had Justice of any sort?
You see, when we say #TheLawIsBroken and

It really is.

Why were there no Judges, twice? Because the MOJ won't fund them.
Now, 18 months after I was first instructed, I am off to do my bill, which will, no doubt, leave me, as usual with an hourly rate of between £10 and £15 and hour.
With apologies for the typos....

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