Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Judge hits out over murder trial delay

A judge has criticised delays in bringing suspects to trial in Northern Ireland which were blamed on problems with police budgets.

And Mr Justice Weir told Belfast Crown Court he wouldn’t tolerate hold-ups “caused by the police rattling their money-boxes”.

The judge was speaking after it was revealed that new evidence in a murder trial wouldn’t be ready for at least six weeks.

Peter Greer (36), from Mountcollyer Avenue in Belfast, and 34-year-old Jamie Alexander Smith, from Shaftesbury Court in Belfast, pleaded not guilty to the murder of Duncan Morrison (56) in Bangor, Co Down, on May 13 last year.

A prosecution lawyer said that new evidence consisted of a presentation of CCTV images and other material. Counsel said it could take six weeks for the production to be completed, and that the reason for this was that it had only just been authorised.

Mr Justice Weir replied: “I am not going to allow these cases to be delayed by the budgetary considerations of the police. If they don’t have the resources, that is not my responsibility.

“It is unacceptable,” he added.

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