Belfast Telegraph

Judge criticises Northern Ireland health trust for delaying court case

By Eamonn MacDermott

A judge at Londonderry Magistrates Court has threatened to issue a witness summons against the Western Health Trust chair if he does not get some measure of co-operation from that body.

District Judge Barney McElholm made his comments during a case involving Dylan Smith (24) of Glenview Street in Derry who faces two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm on two females on October 10 last year.

The court heard that the delay in the case stemmed from a statement that the prosecution required from a member of medical staff in Altnagelvin Hospital.

A prosecution solicitor said they had contacted the hospital but had been informed the staff member could not be contacted as they moved from ward to ward.

Judge McElholm said: "Am I going to be finally forced to issue a summons against the chief executive? I don't want to summons anyone, I just want the medical reports, but we can't even get a name."

The judge said there seemed to be a complete lack of co-operation.

He went on: "Meanwhile we have someone in custody, an injured party who wants the case dealt with and a community who want an efficient criminal justice system.

"One party is simply not co-operating and that is the Trust."

Judge McElholm asked for the name of the doctor to be given to the court and he would issue a witness summons.

He concluded: "This is the last step I want to take but we are getting no co-operation from the Trust whatsoever."

Smith will appear in court again on November 26.

Belfast Telegraph

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