Judge: Court delays are threatening ‘fair outcomes’
- Credit: Archant
A judge has said court delays are threatening 'fair outcomes' after police failed to obtain medical reports for a pedestrian struck by a car last year.
Carl Roper was due to be sentenced on Wednesday for dangerous driving after the woman he hit was "thrown through the air" on Wisbech Road on December 28.
But the court had no medical evidence from the victim and the case could not go ahead as Roper had been admitted to hospital.
Judge Anthony Bate said there was an emerging trend of delays in postal requisitions by police.
Roper, 43, was not charged until June, in which time he had been prosecuted for a totally unrelated crime.
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Judge Bate ordered details of the police investigation to find out why six months had passed and no medical reports had been sought.
He said: "[The case] relates to an incident of dangerous driving on Wisbech Road near King's Lynn on December 28, in the course of which he struck a pedestrian who was thrown through the air and, not surprisingly, received injuries.
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"There is no medical evidence at all on the file as to what injuries she sustained.
"The victim personal statement explains she has continued to have significant problems as a result of this incident."
He added the victim had signed an agreement permitting police to obtain medical evidence about her.
"It raises questions as to what steps police have taken to obtain medical reports," Judge Bate said.
"Unless and until police obtain the evidence, we do not know.
"There appears to be some delay in postal requisition in this case, as it was issued on 23 June, when the matter would appear to be quite straightforward. I would like a chronology of the inquiry to bringing this matter to be charged.
"What has happened in this case is, between the incident last December and the postal requisition in June, the defendant appeared before magistrates in King's Lynn and was given a community order for a different offence altogether.
"We have a situation which is not unfamiliar but is becoming more problematic in that defendants have moved on and in some cases been dealt with for other matters.
"That raises certain expectations in their minds.
"I appreciate resources are stretched, but when there is a delay - and six months is not the longest we have seen by some distance - it is not conducive to a fair outcome."
Roper, of Seagate Road, Hunstanton, will return to court to be sentenced on a date to be fixed.