View Full Version : Call for speedier reports

14-May-15, 08:18
Sheriff's concern over delay in submission of essential evidence
A SHERIFF has called for greater urgency in processing essential reports in criminal trials.
Sheriff Andrew Berry made his comment after learning, yesterday, that the trial of George Smith, 31. accused of having indecent images of children on his computer, would have to be postponed.
The reason, Wick Sheriff Court heard - a forensic report had not been made available to the prosecution and defence.
Sheriff Berry allowed a joint motion from both, to fix a new trial date but asked David Barclay prosecuting, to "pass on his concern to others".
Mr Barclay explained that the author of the report was "incomunicado", abroad and added: "It has been completed but the mechanics of getting it to us, seem to have fallen down somewhere along the line."
Defence solicitor Fiona MacDonald said she had spoken, on Friday, to the defence expert, who said he would forward the report, after he had sight of the fiscal's report, to ascertain whether the Crown evidence supported the charges.
Sheriff Berry commented that it was the second case before him in the day's list, in which there had been a delay in the disclosure of evidence to the prosecution and defence and went on: "It seems to me that in this day and age it might have been possible for the local fiscal to be given a greater degree of responsibility in the preparation of cases. I am sure it must be frustrating for all those acting in this case because inquiries into the evidence can't start and are subject to a logjam."
Smith denies having indecent photos or pseudo photos of.children at his then home at 42 Upper Dunbar Street, Wick and also pleads not guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice by asking Loretta Harper to remove his laptop, in order to prevent it being discovered by police. The offences are alleged to have occurred on July 21, 2013.
Smith's trial has been rescheduled for July 8.