I appeared yesterday, at a court outside Glasgow, in connection with a criminal matter. My client had been charged with driving culpably and recklessly in a manner causing danger and injury to another party.
It was a very different experience than what I was used to but what is clear now is that the courts are adapting to the problem we all face. On attending the court my facemask had to be worn at all times other than in the court room. The solicitors’ room that was normally buzzing with people was empty with tape placed over seats to allow for social distancing.
Inside the actual court room there were many changes to the “normal” setting. Trying to arrange the room for all parties was challenging with a member of the court having to sit in the empty jury box to accommodate this.
Again normally at 10am the court room would be full of black gowns all hovering over the Procurator Fiscal trying to finalise deals or have the case dropped but today there was only myself and the PF at the table 2m apart. The reason for this is that the court had introduced allocated timings per trial which was great for me but not for the other 5 trials set down for that day.
Prior to the case calling the PF had indicated that she intended to call six witnesses for the prosecution. These parties being previously named and statements released to the defence for analysis. The basis of the charge was that our client had driven his vehicle recklessly towards somebody and struck them causing injury.
Our client’s position was that this did not occur. He was the victim of an elaborate lie and that no collision took place between himself and any other party. This position was supported by a witness and fortunately for our client part of the alleged incident was partially recorded via bodycam footage which was introduced to the court.
Following the calling of two witnesses the prosecution decided to abandon the case. The basis for this was that after I had an opportunity to cross examine them it became clear that their prior statement given to the police did not match their evidence in court nor did it match the evidence of each other. Indeed the footage at times directly contradicted their position. Now as any defence solicitor will tell you prosecution witnesses very rarely like being cross examined but unlike the movies will not suddenly announce they are lying. However in this case the 2 witnesses decided that rather than answering the questions or altering the evidence they would simply try to bully the opposition which did not go down well with the Sheriff. After being warned several times about their language, behaviour and manner I was eventually able to complete my questioning.
We at Jackson Boyd are happy to assist you in any matter you require. Whether it is simply looking for advice on your case or representation at court our team will be happy to help.