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The inevitable result will be delays and interruptions to trials, when witnesses do not arrive on time so as to enable you to speak to them, or when bad character applications are granted mid trial.If granted once the witness is in the witness box in the middle of giving evidence, then of course counsel would not be allowed to speak to the witness at all.What about your feckin’ mandatory instructions then?Of course, many of these issues have already been addressed, by greater minds than mine, in the CBA’s response to the ‘consultation’ (see link here).Getting rid of large numbers of your in-house lawyers with hefty redundancy payments, then having to re-hire (guess!
The new PTPH form suggests that witnesses’ attendance at court should be staggered, to avoid them having to wait for long periods before being called.The fact that I am even having to write this down is a matter of some astonishment to me.Even the famously circumspect Mark Fenhalls, leader of the Criminal Bar Association, has expressed the view that “I hope I am wrong but I fear that this is going to be a bumpy process”.What if witness 2 arrives at court only once you are on your feet dealing with witness 1?
If your only chance to speak to witness 2 will be by having a half-hour break after witness 1, we can anticipate a lot of restless juries and apoplectic judges.
What if the witness turns up at lunchtime, when all the CPS staff are on their lunch break?