Murder trial put back until next year because of coronavirus
PUBLISHED: 17:56 03 July 2020 | UPDATED: 18:21 03 July 2020
The trial of five people accused of the murder of a man in Norfolk has been put back until next year due to the difficulties of having so many defendants in the dock at the same time in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Police were on patrol on the A134 Brandon Road, Thetford, shortly after 7pm on October 3 last year when they discovered members of the public providing first aid to a man who had been stabbed.
The man, later identified as David Lawal, was pronounced dead at the scene shortly before 8pm.
A Home Office post-mortem examination concluded Mr Lawal, 25, died from a single stab wound to the neck and upper chest.
Five people have been charged with since been charged with murder, as well as drugs offences, in the case with a further two people also being charged with drugs offences.
All seven were due to go on trial next month but a hearing at Norwich Crown Court held on Friday (July 3) afternoon heard that fixture would not now be able to go ahead in light of the restrictions in place as a result of coronavirus.
Despite the relaxation of social distancing measures to a metre, from July 4, Judge Stephen Holt said the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) are still insisting on a two metre gap between defendants appearing in the dock which caused a problem with so many defendants due to stand trial.
At Friday’s hearing, which some of the defendants appeared at in person and others via videolink, it was agreed that the August trial date would be vacated with a new date of February 22 agreed and a further mention hearing on July 31 at Norwich.
Those facing trial are:
• Elie Saba, 34, of Ilford, Iddi Zito, 18, from East London, Amrik Singh, 18, of London, Lisa Desousa, 22, from London and a 17-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons have all denied with one count of murder and conspiracy to supply class A drugs between April 1 and November 21.
• Meanwhile, Claudia Annius, 20, from Kempston, near Bedford, has denied assisting an offender as well as conspiracy to supply class A drugs and possession of cannabis and Viktorija Kuzule, 18, of Pine Close, Thetford, has denied two counts of conspiring to supply class A drugs.