CCTV blunder leads to graffiti trial’s collapse

Charlie Silver

Charlie Silver

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

A CONVICTED vandal accused of graffiti damage worth £4,000 has walked free from court, after prosecutors failed to produce evidence against him.

Charlie Silver was due to face trial at Oxford Magistrates’ Court yesterday accused of spray-painting graffiti tags on top of the city’s Clarendon Centre.

But the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) did not bring a working copy of key CCTV footage from the centre and the case collapsed.

The blunder comes after an inspection report published in February revealed the Thames Valley CPS unit was one of the worst performing in the country.

And two cases – one an alleged assault – were dropped last month when a CPS lawyer did not turn up to court on time.

Silver, 23, had previously been fined £100 in 2012 after tagging the words “Soak” and “BWS!” in Cowley Road.

He was due to stand trial yesterday accused of spray-paint vandalism high-up on the Clarendon Centre in March.

Silver was also facing a charge of going equipped to cause criminal damage, after police allegedly found him with spray cans in Oxford in January.

But Warwick Clarke, defending Silver, said the CPS had not provided him with the copies of CCTV evidence he had requested ahead of the trial.

The court was also told that CCTV from Oxford City Council was only provided to the defence yesterday.

Mr Clarke said: “These matters bring criminal proceedings into disrepute.

“My client is here still not knowing the evidence against him on the day of the trial.”

Magistrate Lin Holford, refusing to adjourn the case to give the CPS more time, said: “There is no fault on the part of the defence. The CPS are at fault for not providing a working disc that is key evidence for the defence within the disclosure time scale.”

She also said the CPS had twice sent the defence copies of another disc – of CCTV from Kebab Kid in Gloucester Green – adding: “Given these factors and the nature of the allegations it is not in the interests of justice to adjourn.”

Silver had admitted possession of cannabis after his arrest in January and was fined £75 and told to pay £85 costs and £20 victims’ surcharge.

In mitigation his lawyer had said he was a creative artist, who wanted to get work designing record covers.

Thames Valley Police last night refused to comment, but speaking after the hearing, city councillor for Jericho and Osney Susanna Pressel said: “The police will be horrified. They have worked so hard.

“The public is owed an apology for this terrible mistake. I hope someone will be disciplined.”

Thames and Chiltern CPS spokeswoman Louise Rosher last night said the CCTV disc had failed to work due to an unidentified error.

She said 0.07 per cent of prosecutions at Oxford Magistrates’ Court had failed due to the CPS not being ready between June last year and May this year.

She said: “We would like to assure the public that all such cases are reviewed and lessons are learned.”


 

Our top stories

Rape cases rise in Oxfordshire by two-thirds

Oxford Mail: Police line do not cross with police car in background

8:30am Tuesday 21st April 2015

THE NUMBER of rapes across the county has gone up by more than 66 per cent and sex offences have increased by 35 per cent in the last year.

Cyclist injured in crash at Oxford junction criticised by cycling group

Oxford Mail: Ambulance stock image

3:10pm Tuesday 21st April 2015

A CYCLIST has been taken to hospital after they collided with a van at the junction of George Street and Worcester Street.

Kyle Byfield murder accused Natasha Capell appears in court

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

11:19am Tuesday 21st April 2015

A BANBURY woman has appeared in court charged with the murder of 23-year-old Kyle Byfield.

Oxford United's out-of-contract players to learn fate in next week

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Tuesday 21st April 2015

Michael Appleton has promised he will look players in the eye and tell them straight if they are not in his plans for Oxford United next season.

Woman to appear in court today accused of murdering Kyle Byfield

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

8:50am Tuesday 21st April 2015

A woman from Banbury who has been charged with the murder of 23-year-old Kyle Byfield will appear in Oxford Crown Court today.

Community and political stalwart Val Smith being cared for in hospice

Oxford Mail: Board member for customer services Val Smith

8:00am Tuesday 21st April 2015

FORMER Blackbird Leys councillor Val Smith is being cared for in Sobell House Hospice after a long battle with cancer.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree