Case ended to highlight 'shambolic' prosecution
A MAN has escaped a drink-drive charge after prosecutors failed to prepare properly for his trial.
Istiak Ali's case was an example of the "shambolic" state of affairs in the procurator-fiscal's office at Glasgow Justice of the Peace Court, appeal judges were told yesterday.
The case had brought matters to a head and measures were being taken to address problems, it was said.
However, the judges at the Justiciary Appeal Court in Edinburgh decided to add their weight to the drive for improvements, and ended the case against Mr Ali to "encourage an efficient and effective system of prosecution".
Mr Ali, 51, of Springkell Drive, Glasgow, was accused of driving with an alcohol count of 109, the legal limit being 80, in the city on 1 December, 2009. He denied the offence and a trial was fixed for 29 April in the JP Court, which deals with the least serious criminal offences.
The date was confirmed by both side in a hearing two weeks before Mr Ali's trial.
However, on 29 April, the Crown asked for an adjournment because an essential witness had not been cited to attend, and vital documentary evidence had not been lodged with the court.
No explanation was given; the depute procurator-fiscal said simply there was "no particular reason" for having to seek an adjournment.
The stipendiary magistrate, Robin Christie, who has 25 years' experience, had misgivings, but allowed the case to be put off to another date. Mr Ali appealed, and the magistrate provided a in a report to the appeal judges.
He said: "To listen to senior officials and to read Crown Office annual reports, one would think that all was well. At the JP Court, all is not well with the procurator-fiscal's office. Things are often shambolic."
Advocate-depute John Scullion conceded that the standard of preparation by the Crown had been "unacceptable".
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