Magistrate Nova Hall issued a warrant on Monday for the arrest of a police officer who failed to attend Summary Court for a trial.
Defence Attorney Samuel Jackson had asked for the charges against his female client to be dismissed, although Monday was the first trial date set. He said the court should send a message to officers who believe they can simply not turn up.
In this case, the officer was the only witness to the alleged offences: speeding, failing to comply with an order given by an officer; failure to produce a driver’s licence.
‘The charges come as a result of him systematically targeting her and harassing her,’ Mr. Jackson told the court. He added that his client had complained through the police department’s complaints office. She said the officer had told her that her car was marked.
Mr. Jackson said he wrote the Crown to confirm he would not be accepting the officer’s written statement, but would require him to attend the trial and be cross-examined. The magistrate had evidence that the summons had been served on the officer.
Another police officer was present for the case, but every charge related to the missing officer. ‘The case turns on him,’ Mr. Jackson said.
The defendant has had to come to court; she has hired counsel; her job is in jeopardy, Mr. Jackson pointed out. ‘If there was ever a case that screams for dismissal, this is it,’ he said.
Not only did the officer not turn up, he was not even making himself available for contact although his fellow officer had tried phoning him, the attorney said.
Crown Counsel Tanya Lobban said they did not know why the officer was not present. ‘The court cannot make any assumptions…. He may have a good explanation for his absence.’ It would be premature to dismiss the matter without more information, she suggested.
The magistrate said both counsel had made valid points. She had set the matter as a priority. ‘I am sufficiently concerned about the officer’s failure to respond to the summons and phone calls to order a warrant for his arrest,’ she concluded.
The warrant is for the officer to be produced before the court.
The trial was rescheduled for 6 October.