Too Little Too Late: A Judge's ruling on the Government's response to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Criminal Justice System
On September 8th, in a ruling on a Custody Time Limit (CTL) extension application at Woolwich Crown Court, HHJ Raynor delivered a judgment which BBC news reported as “a blistering attack” on the Government’s response to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Criminal Justice System. He refused to extend the CTL in part on the basis that the courts had failed to prevent a systemic collapse in listing trials, such that an extension of a CTL could not be justified under existing legislation. He also made reference to the recent decision by the Senior Presiding Judge to restrict future CTL extension applications to a limited pool of judges. This has been interpreted in some quarters as an attack on the independence of the judiciary.
With the imminent extension of CTLs to eight months Paul Keleher QC, who appeared for the defendant, will analyse that judgement and provide some guidance as to how future applications are likely to be treated.
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