14 October 2009

Jet and Jay-Jay 9th Nov

The PC who let his dogs die in his car back in the summer has had his sick note accepted. He's considered to be unfit to plead. No explanation has been given for why the hearing was late and no one has commented on whether or not that invalidates the unfitness to plead. The next hearing is scheduled for 9th Nov 2009.
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Links here, here, here, and here.

Update 21st December 2009,

"Dear Sirs

I am following your prosecution of PC Mark Johnson with interest - see this news link http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/nottinghamshire/8306381.stm

However, I am puzzled about one particular legal aspect of the proceedings thus far.

There was a preliminary hearing on 10th Sept 2009 where the defence sought permission to obtain psychiatric reports with a view to submitting that the defendant is unfit to plead.

See link here - http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/126228/Handler-may-be-let-off-for-police-dogs-that-baked-to-death-in-car

My understanding is that this procedure is governed by Section 11 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000. Further, section 11(2) of the Act says that the defence has four weeks in which to submit their psychiatric report.

The problem is that, as far as I understand, the defence submitted the doctor's note on the 14th October 2009. Isn't this more than the four weeks allowed under the Act? If so, hasn't Johnson lost his right to unfitness to plead procedures?

I would be grateful if you could point out my misunderstanding of the situation.


19/10/2009
Thank you for your web enquiry.

In technical terms, the answer to your question is yes. However, a Court always has discretion in the interests of fairness.

In this case, the reports have shown the defendant to be 'fit to plead and stand trial'. The matter is due to go ahead in February 2010.

Thank you for contacting us.

Kind regards
RSPCA HQ Advice Team
"

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