Crown abandons appeals against cases deserted by judge at Dundee Sheriff Court
A number of appeals by the Crown against decisions at Dundee Sheriff Court to throw out cases as a result of police and prosecutor failures have been abandoned.
The president of the Dundee Bar Association, solicitor advocate Jim Laverty, called the process “a complete waste of time”.
Mr Laverty acted in the cases of Francis Kelbie and Jack Cook last month, both of whose cases were thrown out by Sheriff Alastair Brown.
Both men denied their respective charges of assault and shoplifting, which were then dismissed by the judge after it was disclosed that the Crown lacked vital CCTV evidence.
Sheriff Brown deserted the cases simpliciter rather than pro loco et tempore, meaning the only option for prosecutors was to appeal the decision.
The judge also dismissed a case against Nadia Shields, accused of defrauding a benefits agency, after delays of nearly two years at the Department for Work and Pensions.
Another trial involving the abuse of a child collapsed after a vital witness had not been cited – though the Crown did not appeal that case.
Mr Laverty, of Dundee law firm Muir Myles Laverty, said: “We have been preparing very carefully for the hearing on Wednesday, considering their bill of advocation and Sheriff Brown’s very full and detailed report on the cases.
“Therefore it took us a wee bit by surprise when the notice came in that the Crown were no longer seeking to challenge the decisions.”
A Crown spokesperson confirmed the abandonment of the cases but added the appeal against Nadia Shields is still going ahead.
The spokesperson said: “It is the duty of the Crown to continually keep cases under review, including during all stages of appeal proceedings.
“After full and careful consideration of all of the available information, Crown counsel instructed that the appeals in respect of the cases against Jack Cook and Francis Kelbie should not proceed and these appeals have now been withdrawn.
“The appeal in the case against Nadia Shields is proceeding and it would therefore be inappropriate to comment further.”