VICTIMS of a burglary gang have to wait for justice because the Crown Prosecution Service failed to produce an essential document in more than two months, York Crown Court heard.
David Robert Brown told the court and the CPS in April he was ready to admit to his part in raids on 15 houses in Norton, Selby and Nottinghamshire.
But he couldn’t do that until an indictment listing his crimes was ready, and that has to be prepared by the CPS.
Eight weeks later, when the case came before the Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, there was no indictment, and the barrister who appeared for the CPS, Adam Mugliston, had no explanation for its absence. The judge had to adjourn the case to a date to be set.
He said: “This is an exceptionally serious case covering widespread burglaries in four counties where Brown is the only defendant before the court. It is wrong there is no indictment where the defendant has indicated from the first hearing he wanted to plead at the first opportunity.”
He added: “Everyone concerned with this case – that includes the people whose homes have been burgled – ought to know the case has been thoroughly prepared and the court has all the relevant information.”
A CPS spokesman said: “We apologise for the fact that the indictment in this case had not been prepared for court as it should have been. We will be liaising with Counsel before the next hearing and ensuring that the indictment is ready to be served. We are reviewing what happened in this case in order to ensure that it does not occur again.”
Prosecution and defence agree that Brown, 31, of no fixed address, was the gang’s driver. He is currently remanded in prison. He and his legal team had come prepared for him to be sentenced at the hearing that had to be adjourned and character referees had written to the judge on his behalf.
But the case had to be adjourned because the prosecution was not ready.
Mr Mugliston was not the barrister originally instructed in the case and said he had received the case at “very short notice”.