FIVE months ago promises were made that the failings of our local Crown Prosecution Service would be tackled.
An inspection report showed it was one of the worst performing areas of the country but, as is so often the way with bungling public authorities, we were told improvements were already in place with a load of reassuring management buzzwords from new CPS chief Adrian Foster.
Yet yesterday the trial against convicted tagger Charlie Silver collapsed because of what would appear to be yet another chapter of incompetency.
Silver was facing two charges of criminal damage over graffiti on the Clarendon Centre and another of going equipped to cause criminal damage.
The CPS was supposed to supply Silver’s solicitors with three separate pieces of CCTV footage prosecutors were planning to produce during the trial. It allows the defence time to consider the evidence against the accused, who in this case denied the charges.
A fairly standard administrative task. Yet the CPS handed one piece to Silver’s representatives three times, only supplied the second yesterday, and the disc for the third oddly didn’t work in court yesterday.
Magistrate Lin Holford quite properly refused the CPS an adjournment to try to correct its bungling and so the trial collapsed.
And the CPS are repeat offenders on this.
Two years ago it had to drop the majority of tagging charges over £20,000-worth of damage against Silver because its case didn’t stack up then. Recently two cases – including one of alleged assault – had to be dropped because a prosecutor didn’t show up at court.
Simply, we need our local CPS bosses to get hold of their organisation rather than carrying on as the sister arm of the Keystone Cops.