Although a judge had unnecessarily and improperly intervened during a defendant’s examination-in-chief, the interventions were not so significant as to materially impair the defendant’s ability to put his case before the jury. The judge’s interventions, combined with deficiencies in his summing-up, had not deprived the defendant of a fair trial.
RIGHT TO FAIR TRIAL
A judge’s decision to stay a prosecution as an abuse of process on the basis of a failure by the prosecution to properly pursue a line of enquiry when investigating allegations of sexual assault was wrong in principle and did not constitute a reasonable exercise of his discretion.
There was sufficient concern about Polish judicial independence that persons requested by Poland under European arrest warrants should have the opportunity to advance reasons why they might have an exceptional case requiring an individual assessment to see whether there were substantial grounds for believing that they individually ran a real risk of a breach of their rights to a fair trial, under the test set out in Minister for Justice and Equality v LM (C-216/18 PPU) EU:C:2018:586. Those sought for ordinary criminal offences, with no political or sensitive content, seemed unlikely to be able to establish that risk.
A final offer made by the Legal Aid Agency in respect of counsel’s fees in a “Very High Cost (Crime) Case” had a sufficient public-law element to make it amenable to judicial review. The offer in the instant case was unlawful because, among other things, the Legal Aid Agency had failed to disclose its method of calculating the fees offered.
The court quashed a finding of contempt in relation to the livestreaming on Facebook of a video referring to details of defendants during a trial which was subject to a postponement order prohibiting the reporting of the proceedings until the conclusion of the trial. The judge had dealt with the contempt too quickly, there was no clarity about the particulars of the alleged contempt as required by the Criminal Procedure Rules 2015 Pt 48 and there was limited opportunity to investigate mitigation. The matter was remitted for rehearing.