Tuesday, October 11, 2005


I was thoroughly bored at Court today. Whilst waiting to assist Clients I sat and observed:

1. A defendant who had mental health problems who had pleaded guilty to criminal damage. A medical report suggested that the Defendant should be given a hospital order to receive treatment and then be released from the care of the hospital when he was deemed fit. The District Judge cut straight to the chase and sentenced the Defendant to a conditional discharge and a compensation order. The District Judge identified that the Defendant coped well when taking medication and had recently received back dated benefits. So if he continued to take medication he would probably not offend again.

2. A solicitor explain that he is having problems obtaining prior authority from the Legal Services Commission to pay a psychiatrist to provide a report on his Client. The Legal Services Commission had previously granted prior authority for a report from a psychologist, but now had to consider a new application for a psychiatrist. A trial for this case was about two months away and everyone seemed resigned to the fact that two months was not long enough to get prior authority to pay a psychiatrist, then to find a psychiatrist, and then to get a report from them.

3. A solicitor who attended at a pre-trial review for a matter of failing to provide a specimen of breath after being suspected of drink driving. This solicitor confirmed that he was not calling any expert evidence and that he was not calling any medical evidence although he was running a defence that his Client was medically unfit to provide a sample - this case looks to be doomed to failure.

4. The Court Clerk loose his rag when requesting a hearing date over the telephone in open Court. He first phoned through to his scheduling office and received a hearing date. He then rung back two minutes later to cancel the first date and make a further hearing date. During the second telephone conversation with the scheduling office the Clerk became rather irate when he was told that he could not be given a further date over the telephone - he only realised that he became irate when he put the phone down and saw that everyone was looking at him.

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