*Warning* – out of an abundance of caution if, by any chance you are on jury service (or going to be) look away now.
If you’re a barrister, don’t tell your clerks about this one.
I was surprised that more people weren’t aware of the ability to track what is happening in the Crown Court using Exhibit or, what I use – Causelist. I don’t know who actually runs it, but what it does it draws on the information on the Court logs and post it online, so you can follow what is happening in Court, today and previously.
There’s not much information, but you know when a case is called on, what is happening with with it (i.e. – witness number 3 for the prosecution is called).
It’s got a few uses, and I’ll just look at one. I had a floating trial in Chelmsford recently. I look at CourtServe (now a subscription service) and check which Courts might be candidates.
There’s a few Courts with part-heard trials, which are the best candidates. Such as Court 2 –
But the problem is we don’t know how ‘part heard’ that is. It could be that the summing up is finished with the jury going out straight away at half ten. Or it could be that the prosecution are half way through opening in a for week trial.
And so if you go to causelist.org – http://causelist.org/chelmsford/ (you’d have to scroll back in time a bit to find this one) you see :
Hey presto – It’s not infallible, GIGO and all that. And, of course, as any lawyer will tell you, stuff happens. And we don’t know how many prosecution witnesses there are, but it does seem that there will be a fair bit longer with this one. The prosecution case is still going strong and so we’re probably not going to get on here.
What about Court 5?
It’s a possibility – the 2 o’clock sentence could be a sign the Judge thinks the jury will be out by then. But the sentence may be at 2pm for a variety of other reasons also.
Back to Causelist –
This isn’t as clear – is it still the prosecution witnesses? How long has the trial been going on for? Causelist again –
Click on the hyperlink of the defendant’s name (here it is – http://causelist.org/d/ru6gx5ptcvmm/) and you can get a complete history of the case.
We can see that the Prosecution Opening took from 14.21 to 15.43 – 1 hour 22 minutes. Again, it could be a very verbose lawyer, or a DWP fraud where a lot of explanation is there in the opening before a short trial, but it looks like it will last a while …
As to what actually happened? Stuff happened, as it often did. One trial that was firmly part-heard collapsed and we got on at half ten. And out again before eleven after a Goodyear.