Accused walks free because of incorrect trial time

A man accused of an act of domestic violence which left his then-partner heavily bruised has walked free from court without any hearing because the CPS told the victim the wrong time to appear to give evidence.

Harriet Atkinson, aged 22, took photos of her injuries, which she said were sustained by her bodybuilder boyfriend Lewis Rookyard in an attack on New Year's Day. Ms Atkinson was advised by the Crown Prosecution Service to attend court in the afternoon, but the trial was in fact in the morning. The prosecution asked for a 30 minute postponement so Ms Atkinson could be rushed to the court, but the judge quite surprisingly rejected their request and dismissed the case on the basis of non-attendance, despite being aware that she was misinformed about the time of the hearing.

They said there would not be enough time to complete the trial if they waited, and said it would be unfair for Mr Rookyard to have to wait for on a new date for the hearing.

Ms Atkinson expressed her anger at the magistrates decision, and alluded to the decision highlighting that domestic violence is not taken seriously. The Crown Prosecution Service are now investigating whether the magistrates decision to dismiss the case can be overturned.

If you live in Northern Ireland and require legal advice in respect of domestic abuse, contact Wilson Nesbitt solicitors in Belfast by calling 0800 840 1363.