Year-long delay for youth's arms trial branded a scandal by judge
Published 06/10/2011 | 00:00
A year-long wait for the trial of a teenager accused of a weapons offence is a potential scandal, a High Court judge has declared.
Mr Justice Hart ordered the Public Prosecution Service to provide him with an immediate “day by day” account of the case's history.
The 17-year-old, who cannot be named because of his age, is understood to have been charged with possession of a prohibited weapon.
The alleged offence dates back to October 2010, with a contested hearing being held before a youth court this month.
Details of the length of time emerged during a bail hearing in Belfast in connection with a separate incident.
Mr Justice Hart said: “What can the public think of a system which is incapable, it seems, of resolving an issue in the youth court for a year after the alleged offence has been committed.”
The judge told a prosecution barrister that he wanted a complete report from the PPS by the end of the day.
Mr Justice Hart added: “On the face of it, to take virtually a year to bring a matter like that only to the stage of it being dealt with at a contested hearing is, in the absence of a very good explanation, a scandal.”