Sarah Elliott QC and Benjamin Newton secure an acquittal and wasted costs order in case dropped by CPS as a result of disclosure failings.

Sarah Elliott QC and Benjamin Newton secured an acquittal and wasted costs order at Southwark Crown Court for a client accused of assault causing grievous bodily harm after last minute disclosure forced the Crown Prosecution Service to drop the case.

The defendant was indicted under s18 Offences Against The Person Act 1861. In the months leading up to the trial repeated attempts were made to secure disclosure of the download from his mobile phone, seized by the police, because he had consistently asserted that it contained material that would support his defence. Despite repeated requests and court orders for disclosure the material was not provided until the trial had begun. The material from the mobile phone demonstrated that the complainant had been lying to the police, as the defendant had always asserted, and was not someone who the CPS should put forward as a witness of truth. Although the case had been opened to the jury and a live link to Australia had been established for the complainant, defence submissions to prosecution counsel and the reviewing lawyer finally resulted in the Crown offering no evidence on the second day of the trial, before the witness was called.

An application to recover the wasted costs incurred by the defendant under s19 Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 was granted following a hearing on 19th January 2018. HHJ Lorraine-Smith cited the "ineptitude" of the CPS and police, and observed that the case would have ended in January 2017 if the mobile telephone had been examined immediately as it should have been.

Sarah Elliott QC acted for the defendant at trial and Benjamin Newton appeared in relation to the wasted costs application.

Both were instructed by John Harding and Nicholas Dent of Kingsley Napley solicitors.

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