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Woman charged with assaulting emergency workers has trial adjourned to halt spread of coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 12:39 23 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:39 23 March 2020

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Norwich Crown Court. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

A woman facing charges of assaulting two police officers had her trial at Norwich Crown Court put on hold as part of efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Amanda Roache, 51, was due to stand trial on Monday, at Norwich Crown Court, but following new guidance from the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett, that no new trials will start, her case had to be adjourned.

Earlier in the week, Lord Burnett, the most senior judge in England and Wales, said no new trials expected to last three days or more would go ahead amid the deepening coronovirus crisis.

But, as pressure from members of legal profession mounted on the Government to halt court hearings, the step of suspending all new trials was taken.

Roache, of no fixed address, who was found not to be fit to enter pleas, had been due to have a short trial before a jury to decide if she had committed the act of assaulting two emergency workers.

She is charged with assaulting an emergency worker on August 23, last year and again on August 24, last year.

However because of the ban on new trials her case could not be heard.

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The court heard that two forensic psychiatrists had concluded that Roache was unfit to plead to the charges.

Stephen Spence, prosecuting, said that the Crown accepted the reports of the two psychiatrists.

Judge Anthony Bate ruled that Roache was unfit to plead because of her mental health issues.

He said that a jury had been lined up to hear the short case to decide if Roache had carried out the assaults but said following the latest guidance from the Lord Chief Justice this would now not go ahead.

Roache, who was not required to attend the hearing, was further remanded and her custody time limits extended until July 3.

He said that her trial, which is expected to last one day, would take place on a date to be fixed.

Under the latest Government guidance Lord Burnett has said the action was taken to avoid unnecessary contact.

Arrangements have been made to conduct as many hearings as possible using telephone, video and other technology and that HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) was working round the clock on these new measures.

However jury trials could not be carried out remotely.

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