Emma West Delayed Yet Again!

The trial of Emma West on racially aggravated public order offences has been delayed for the third time. No further date has been set. The trial was originally scheduled for June, then July and finally September 5th. The ostensible reason for the latest delay is the same as it was previously, further psychiatric reports are being sought by the prosecution.

It is true that cases can be delayed several times for reasons which are entirely legitimate. Further evidence directly relating to the immediate facts of the case, that is, what happened rather than why it happened, may be being sought with a reasonable chance of success. Examples would be where witnesses have not been interviewed because they are not in the country, but are believed to be returning in the foreseeable future or documents are being withheld by a body such as a bank and their release or otherwise is the subject of ongoing court action. But there is nothing like that here, for the delay is simply down to further psychiatric reports being wanted. That is something largely within the control of those commissioning them. The fact that it is the prosecution which is asking for more reports is highly significant because it suggests that the ones they have already commissioned are not to their liking, that is, they are detrimental to the prosecution.

The case is not that complex. The prosecution have the recording. They have had ample time to test it to see if it has been tampered with. As the delay in trying the case is ascribed solely to the need for psychiatric reports, presumably the prosecution either have witness statements from the person who filmed the incident and possibly others amongst the people present or have decided that their evidence is not required for a prosecution.

There is a further consideration. Because of the extensive mainstream media publicity given to the case, and the fact that it deals with the most politically toxic subject in modern Britain, namely, race, this is a high-profile prosecution. The case was given further potency in the public’s mind because Ms West was put in a high security prison “for her own safety” .

Compare the time taken in Ms West’s case compared with that of the England footballer John Terry’s case for racially abusing the black QPR player Anton Ferdinand. The two cases are similar. Terry pleaded not guilty and the evidence against him were recordings of the game in which he was alleged to have made the remarks. If Terry’s trial had gone ahead when it was first scheduled rather than being delayed by his defence asking for a delay, the case would probably have been tried in April or May (the delay of the trial was granted on 2 February). That would have been only six or seven months after the alleged offence - the alleged offence took place on 31 October 2011. (Terry was found not guilty when the case was tried).

Ms West first appeared in court was charged on 28th November 2011. Thus more than nine months have passed since charges were brought against her. Because no future trial date has been set it is probable that a year or more will have elapsed before she is brought to court, if indeed, she ever is tried.