Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2006] All ER (D) 280 (Apr)
Court: Queen's Bench Division (Divisional Court)

Scott Baker LJ and Openshaw J

Representation Sonia Birdee (instructed by Berry & Berry, Worsley) for the defendant.
  Vincent Yip (instructed by the Crown Prosecution Service, Wigan) for the prosecution.
Judgment Dates: 28 April 2006


Criminal evidence - Witness - Bad character - Defendant charged with assault of witness - Witness main prosecution evidence against defendant - Witness awaiting trial for violent affray - Prosecution failing disclose details of counts against witness - Defendant seeking adjournment for information to be disclosed - Prosecution not opposing adjournment - Justices refusing adjournment - Whether justices in error - Whether refusal to adjourn depriving defendant of right to a fair trial - Human Rights Act 1988, Sch 1, Pt 1, art 6(1).

The Case

A very wide measure of discretion had to be given to the justices when making a case management decision and the Divisional Court should not interfere unless the decision made was plainly wrong. It was also right that a magistrates' court had to have regard to the efficient use of court time. Adjournments should not be granted unless the imperatives of justice required it. However, if it was necessary to adjourn a case for justice to be done due to the fault of the prosecution, then the adjournment had to be granted unless no prejudice would be caused to the defendant.

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