Kate Blackwell QC – Crown Court decision upheld in the Court of Appeal

On 15th September, the Court of Appeal upheld an earlier decision of the Crown Court at Chester to stay proceedings against a health care professional facing allegations of sexual assault. Kate Blackwell QC, instructed by Matthew Claughton of Olliers Solicitors, represented the defendant.

The allegations brought were dated back to 2015. Despite repeated requests for material that would assist the defence (and the matter being listed for two disclosure hearings) the Crown disregarded their own undertakings and ignored Court orders.

In the face of expert evidence obtained by the Crown very late in proceedings, one of the two charges against the defendant was dropped. With this in mind, the defence made a number of requests of the Crown to consider whether there remained a realistic prospect of conviction.

Unused material that the prosecution had possessed for a number of months was eventually made available to the defence on the day of trial. A last minute statement was obtained from the complainant. The trial was adjourned with further orders for disclosure to be made.

The Crown ultimately failed to comply with the orders. In May 2017, the defence listed the matter for an abuse of process application. The proceedings against the defendant were stayed following a hearing before the Crown Court.

The Crown appealed the decision of the Crown Court Judge and on 15th September, the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal with issue of costs to be determined.

To instruct Kate Blackwell QC, or for further information, please contact Director of Clerking, David Wright.