THE Crown Prosecution Service has come under fire for “making a fool of the courts” after the trial of four teenagers accused of stealing a pair of sunglasses was abandoned at Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court.
Toby Roberts of Ashley Road, Poole, Christopher Wicks, of Wimborne Road, Bournemouth, and Malik and Sofyan Aljerrari, from Bolton, were due to stand trial for burglary following the alleged theft of a pair of glasses from a residential garage in Poole.
However, before the trial began Mr Lang, prosecuting, told the court the CPS was offering no evidence after it emerged the alleged victim had amended his statement back in January after he found the glasses that had been believed to have been stolen.
Sofyan Aljerrari’s defence barrister, Mr Reynolds, told the magistrates’ court: “This was known a long time ago and nobody bothered to tell the court.
“In that sense the court has been made of a fool of. It is utterly ridiculous.”
The Aljerrari brothers had travelled from their home in Bolton to attend the trial, which had been scheduled to last for two days.
Mr Moore, Malik Aljerrari’s defence solicitor, told the court his client would be claiming expenses for flights to and from Bolton for both the preliminary court hearing and the scheduled trail.
Dismissing the four teenagers, magistrate Mr Simms, said it was “unacceptable” the case had been brought to court.
He said: “You are free to go as there is no case to answer however we will make our feelings felt strongly on the records.
“In the interests of justice we can only apologise for the length of time you have been bouncing backwards and forwards.”
A spokesman for the CPS said due to “human error” an email from the police saying the glasses had been found was not picked-up until mid-April.
Speaking to the Daily Echo on the day the trial was due to take place, the spokesman said: “We immediately emailed the police of our intention to discontinue the case once we were no longer satisfied that there was still sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.
“We then requested the police to provide us a statement from the alleged victim confirming that he had found his glasses. The statement was only provided to us on Friday afternoon, April, 25, and as a result we offered no evidence today.”
He continued: “We fully recognise that this case should have been reviewed once we received the information from the police at the end of January.
“We are now looking at our process to ensure that this error does not happen in the future.”
'Victim' amended statement
The four teenagers were arrested after a member of the public reported seeing a group men opening a secure garage in Poole at 2am on September 30 last year.
One of the young men admitted entering the garage but denied any thefts.
The group was found to be in possession of a pair of glasses by police, which the owner of the garage, who lives in Spain, identified as his property.
In January the alleged victim amended his statement after he found his glasses, which were identical to the ones found in the possession of the suspects.
Police informed the CPS the alleged victim’s statement had been amended but due to “human error” it was not picked up.