View Full Version : Hearing trial postponed

12-Apr-16, 18:46
More medical information required to qualify accused for special arrangement

A SHERIFF has suspended consideration of an application for special trial arrangements to be made for a hard-of-hearing accused facing a charge of threatening or abusive behaviour.
Sheriff Andrew Berry said that there was insufficient medical information concerning 78-year-old Elaine Hawkins' disability.
The type-to-text requirement was flagged up at an earlier hearing, at Wick Sheriff Court, last year when the trial got underway and it became evident that Hawkins was not fully following the opening evidence. A new date was set for the trial and the wheels were put in motion to overcome the situation.
AN imputer from a hearing agency was in place, today, ready to key evidence onto a monitor for Hawkins to follow, in the dock.
It was then that Sheriff Berry raised the competency issue. Commenting on the the situation as "unsatisfactory", he said couldn't allow the application for the special hearing arrangements, simply because they were in place. The application was deficient in medical detail and the sheriff said he had to be satisfied that the facility was justified in law. There was, for example, no indication that Hawkins had been examined to ascertain where or not her hearing aid had been prescribed.
Sheriff Berry told Hawkins: "It is hugely regretful but I have to decide to postpone the trial to a later date pending the fullest information from your doctor to enable me to decide if the text arrangement can be made under the legislation." The new trial date was fixed for July 5 with a June 24 hearing to ascertain that everything is in order.
Hawkins, of Lochview, Scarfskerry, denies threatening to stab Helen Hawkins in the neck to kill her. The incident is alleged to have taken place at the accused's home on September 13, last year.