A Birmingham judge has demanded an explanation after a case was dropped because prosecution lawyers apparently “could not be bothered” to investigate it properly.
Judge Richard Griffith-Jones said if that was the case it would be “appalling”.
Sarah Pratt, prosecuting, offered no evidence against a 25-year-old man from Winson Green who had faced two charges at Birmingham Crown Court of intimidation.
She said the case centred around letters the defendant had allegedly sent to a woman and that a trial date had been set for later this month.
Miss Pratt said tests revealed there was no fingerprint or DNA evidence linking the accused with the letters.
But she said a computer belonging to the defendant had yet to be checked by police because of an apparent backlog.
Miss Pratt said although the writing on the letters had been produced by a word processor there was handwriting on envelopes which had yet to be analysed by an expert.
She said the reviewing lawyer had decided there was no realistic prospect of a successful prosecution on the evidence as it stood.
The judge said: “I am disturbed. I have a suspicion someone is saying ‘we cannot be bothered to do this, we are too busy’.”
He demanded a report within seven days from the lawyer who made the decision explaining how it was reached.
The judge said he wanted to know if the complainant had been contacted and why no application had been made for the case to be adjourned for a handwriting expert to be consulted and the computer examined.
He said he also wanted an explanation for the delay in the case and what public interest there was in “giving up” now when so much money had already been spent.