Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Commital Hearing: Westminster Magistrates Court

Today we had the committal hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court, but it almost didn't happen.

The first stage in a criminal case is to come to court to answer the charge. Today Eleanor simply had to go to court, say her name and address and the charge would be read out. The next stage would happen a few months later. So not very complicated.

If she didn't turn up we would be able not proceed to the next step which would be setting a date for trial. Of course we had already been granted a summons so there was no choice in the matter. If she didn't turn up then she would be arrested and taken to court in by police.

But when my lawyers turned up in court, she wasn't there. Her lawyers gave us a sick note, saying she was too unwell to attend. Really? She can't just come in and say her name?

It was tense. My lawyers spoke to the District Judge and she was given an extension hour to come in. Lo and behold half and hour later there she was full suited and booted and coming across as very confident and cocky.

Her lawyers then ran an "abuse of process" argument, but it failed, the judge found that my Private Prosecution was sound and should go to the next step.

In two weeks time we would be back in court, for a preliminary hearing at Southwark Crown Court on the 25th September.

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