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AIBU To Wonder Why the Police/Court Couldn't be Better Organised Than This....

(24 Posts)
RockinHippy Tue 24-Jun-14 10:16:29

DH is to be a key prosecution witness at a trial.

He is also backed up with work as the job is winding down, lots of redundancies already happened & he runs the department that now has practically no staff - so he needs to organise time off well with his bosses or things grind to a halt & they still have deadlines to meet. He has a very early start to the day & is meant to be finished by 3.30 (though rarely gets out on time)

He explained all of this to the Police in detail when they first called him as a witness. They rang him 2 weeks ago to say the trial would be soon, maybe this week or next but couldn't give more details yet.

They rang him last night on the landline after 5.30pm & left a message to tell him to be at court by 9am this morning, which causes big problems for his work place - he did get a missed unknown number call on his mobile also after 5.30 - but we were out watching football so too loud to hear the phone go off & not able to return the call.

AIBU (him too) for thinking this is absolutely disgustingly, crap organisation on the Police/Courts part??

or maybe someone can enlighten us as to WHY this is the way it needs to be - it's not like he just can't turn up - they didn't even actually speak to him, which seems pretty poor with something so important anyway??

Prettykitty111 Tue 24-Jun-14 10:53:27

No YANBU ever since I watched a police and family court case KILL a member of my family i dont trust any of them. They dragged him through court for over two years when there was no evidence. Calling him up and telling him to be at court same day (sometimes giving him less than an hour to present himself) handing him all the evidence in an envelope to hand to his lawyer then telling him they shouldn't have done that so now they might prosecute him for that as well.
I know your DH is a witness not a suspect but the courts really are Very useless. I'd be surprised if he doesn't turn up for the police officer in charge to either not turn up OR not have done all the necessary work on the case causing it to be postponed.

The problem is that they can't predict how long each case is going to take. If the case before was a one week theft case and the defendent changed their plea to guilty on day one then they will bring the other cases forward rather than leave the court empty for the rest of the week.

redexpat Tue 24-Jun-14 11:08:23

YAB understandably U. Fact is, some cases drag on, others get finished quicker than expected. They can't predict when one is going to end and when the next one is going to start. They can't even predict how long one witness will be on the stand for. It's unfortunate and annoying and inconvienient, but I can't see how they would make it any better.

This might give some insight

Scarletohello Tue 24-Jun-14 11:19:47

Unfortunately this is totally normal. As already said, they can't predict how long a case will last, cases often get adjourned or defendants plead guilty at the last minute. Courts are incredibly expensive places to run so need to be filled. There will probably be a lot of waiting around once your DH is at court. Hope he has a book!

AgaPanthers Tue 24-Jun-14 11:36:29

So did he make it to court or not?

Stinkle Tue 24-Jun-14 11:41:40

It is totally normal, but it is annoying.

I'm a foster carer and one of our placements years ago was regularly in and out of Youth Court. They'd make everyone get there for 9am, not actually start until 10am, and sometimes we'd still be sitting there at 3pm waiting for our turn.

It was a nightmare, there'd be loads of young people, who all knew each other, who were all getting into trouble for much the same thing sitting around for hours, getting into even more trouble. I don't know why they couldn't have staggered everyone's times so they weren't all there at once.

What was more scary though was the mistakes they constantly made. It was horrifying to think that they had the ability to affect a YP's life so much yet couldn't manage to read the correct paperwork.

AnyaKnowIt Tue 24-Jun-14 11:48:56


Dp was called as a witness. Had a police man come to the house to serve him papers. No one could tell him what it was about.

Went to the court house on the date stated on the papers. Was kept waiting and bring sent from room to room only to find out that he wasn't needed and would be notified when he needed to come back.

BCBG Tue 24-Jun-14 11:57:06

I can see how frustrating it is - it must be a Crown Court case as magistrates Court trial dates are set in advance, whereas the CPS are required to 'warn' witnesses in the CC a week ahead of each trial that they 'may' be required. Not efficient, but happens for the reasons that Scarletohello gives.
With apologies for the thread hijack I wanted to explain to Stinkle about the Youth Court - the difficulty with staggered times is this - our normal Youth Court work includes first time offenders pleading guilty (who need to be sentenced on the day if humanly possible), defendants pleading not guilty who need trial dates fixing, bail conditions set etc, and those back for sentencing, often with lengthy reports that require careful reading. Added to that, a busy Youth Court may also have custody cases - or cases where custody is a real possibility - which are required to be heard first. We bail all young people to 9.15 as the defence solicitors need time to discuss cases with the prosecutor before court starts at 10am - this can result in a lesser charge, or a case put back for review, sometimes even withdrawn. The young person needs to be in court so that they can be spoken to as needed. We do time sentencing cases for later in the day to assist the work flow. Currently in my area we aim to make sure that all young people are dealt with by lunchtime - this sometimes means that we have to sit on into the lunch break in order to finish the list.

It's not easy, and budget cuts make it harder than ever - the MoJ is under enormous financial pressure, as are the courts. I would like to think that the mistakes you refer to no longer occur under what is a much more efficient and fairer system now, but I can only speak for my area.

ppplease Tue 24-Jun-14 12:16:47

Dont know much about it, but I think we all know that some things in life come before our own lives.
Being a key prosecution witness is one of them.
I am afraid you are a mere pawn.

Stinkle Tue 24-Jun-14 12:22:59

It just doesn't seem very joined up to me

You've got a load of YP waiting around in court, who all know each other, some of them are co-defendants hanging around for hours, causing a massive headache for the security guards and getting into even more trouble

Then you've got social workers, who are already massively stretched, sitting around for hours waiting for their 1 YP to be seen

It was chaos in there

Some of the mistakes they made were quite frightening

ajandjjmum Tue 24-Jun-14 12:41:55

DD is being called as a prosecution witness - sometime at the end of July. So she feels she can't plan anything for last two weeks of July/early August, will have to travel to the city two hours away, and possibly incur costs for staying over.

DH or I will obviously need to take time off work to go with her.

I'm sure it must be difficult to organise, but wish they could make it clearer so that those helping aren't inconvenienced more than necessary.

moolady1977 Tue 24-Jun-14 12:49:32

i was a witness way back in march on the wednesday i got served papers to attend on the friday of that week i turned up sat about for 3 hours only to be told the trial doesnt start until monday it was just to make sure you turn up ,,, so i turn up monday sit there all day from 10 am til 4 pm to then be told oh we couldnt get to it so it will be rearranged,,, i then got a letter last week to say its starting on the 2nd of july i sometimes think they dont think you have anything else to do

PicandMinx Tue 24-Jun-14 12:54:46

My BIL, who is a police officer has always told me "never be a witness". After reading this thread, I can see why.

HappyAgainOneDay Tue 24-Jun-14 13:07:00

I was a witness some years ago. I attended Court as requested and sat waiting for the case to come up - about half an hour. I was then told that I wasn't needed because the Defendant had pleaded guilty because he knew I was there. I was offered any expenses which amounted to something like £1.20 bus fare. I was lucky in that it was during school holidays .....

It must be so annoying when your days are disrupted much more.

Dh and I were called as witnesses in a criminal damage case, involving two lots of neighbours - one lot had a fight, during which they damaged the other neighbour's car, then refused to pay for the repairs, and it ended up in court.

We were summonsed to court, turned up as ordered - dh had to take time off work - and hung around for over an hour, and then were told the case had been postponed, because one of the defendants hadn't turned up. I know that happens, but the reason he didn't turn up, was because the Prison Service had failed to deliver him to court!

Anyway, we grumbled a bit, but accepted that sometimes the best laid plans go wrong, and went home to await the next summons. That duly arrived, and we presented ourselves at court a second time. The same thing happened!! The Prison Service failed to produce their prisoner again. And then the judge decided it wasn't worth wasting everyone's time trying a third time, so dismissed the case - my neighbours were furious - understandably so - and dh and I told the judge that we thought this was appalling, and a denial of justice for our neighbours. He accepted what we were saying, but it did no good.

Xcountry Tue 24-Jun-14 13:13:16

Its not the police though, its the judicial system, and its fucked in all angles, not just the timing and length of court cases.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Tue 24-Jun-14 13:17:33

Par for the course OP. I was warned for 4 days a week in advance, arrived at court 0900, called at 1500 and dismissed from further giving evidence at 1515.

Jury service is as bad, especially when the defendants are outside after lunch making throat-slitting gestures. That wasn't clever.

peskyginge Tue 24-Jun-14 13:20:05

Xcountry is right!!! Its nothing at all to do with police it's the judicial system. Police officers, victims, witnesses often get a call the night before too and have to drop everything, cancel holidays,find emergency child care. It is archaic for this day and age.

Xcountry Tue 24-Jun-14 13:39:00

Yup, oh sorry your son in hospital having open heart surgery?? well tough because you have court! Paternity leave? no you have court. The thing that's most annoying is the police do all the leg work to get the case to court like one poster said and the wonder that is g4s forget to bring the criminal to court from prison, or even if they do, the court gives them a 12 month sentence and they will be out doing it again in 6 months if we are lucky and back to square one again.

RockinHippy Tue 24-Jun-14 14:03:21

Thanks everyone, interesting to get some insight as to how it all works & it does make sense that it's all last minute especially as it was Crown Court & I still feel letting him know a bit earlier yesterday, so he could let his bosses know whilst there was still time to organise cover would have been better & surely if one case ends & they have a slot, they know this before 5.30

Though that said, DH is now back & it really was a complete & utter shambles, which has had him hanging around for a few hours, only finding out when the PC ŵho took his statement spotted him & was surprised to see him

Because he wasn't needed - as the second suspect had now pleaded guilty - yesterday morning !!

On chatting with the PC, turns out he should have had a follow up call telling him this yesterday - DH insisted this hadn't happened & even if they had rang home this morning, I would have let him know

His mobile phone rang whilst chatting to the PC - & it was the clerk (or whoever) ringing to tell him he wasn't needed - 3,1/2 hours after the time she had told him to be thereangry which DH says she sounded really flaky & confused - he had the foresight to put the call on speaker phone, so the PC & others could hear too

They have said they will make sure he gets his expenses - missed wages - but what a bloody farce & I doubt they will be forking out for the missed deadline at his work, that means none of the staff, him included get this weeks target led bonus

Scary so many of you have had similar & worse experiences - I can see it needs to be last minute, but come on, pull your socks up & organise it a bit better

But as a foot note, DH & I are both glad that the second defendant has now also pleaded guilty - it was a rape case & it means the victim won't have to go through the hell of proving her case

Purplehonesty Tue 24-Jun-14 14:10:40

Oh it's a total joke. Dh is a police officer and many many days have been spent waiting around in court for the pf to decide not to go ahead with the case, the defendant pleads on the day, they don't turn up, it gets rescheduled etc etc.
He goes in whilst on holiday and sits all day to be told at the end of the day he isn't needed.
A whole week was once spent waiting in court and at the end of each day the judge rescheduled it for the next day. On Friday they rescheduled it for a few months' time.
What a waste of time and money for everyone.

Scarletohello Tue 24-Jun-14 16:24:39

That's why most people who have been witnesses, say they would probably never do it again! It's a bit of an eye opener. What often happens is, the defence will wait and see if all the witnesses turn up and often, if they do, the defendant may well be advised to plead guilty ( as they will get a reduction in their sentence). It's a tactic and the whole thing is a bit of a game really. Not for the witnesses tho and especially not for a victim.

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