What a start to the week it has been. I attended the Crown Court yesterday for what should have been a straightforward mention hearing. The Defence had, on an earlier occasion, raised issues concerning the Defendant's fitness to plead and, as a result, two psychiatric reports were obtained. One report concluded that the Defendant was certainly unfit to plead, the other was less conclusive and contained information about the Defendant which one certainly wouldn't want to put before a court. Accordingly, the first report was served and the second was not- the position was explained to the Judge at the PCMH and prior authority was granted by the LSC for a third psychiatrist to prepare a report and thus see where the balance of opinion lay. Judge 1 saw no problem with this approach and made directions accordingly. Today, however, the matter came before Judge 2 who took a quite contrary view. He opined that the Defence should serve the second report. This request was refused. Consequently, and some may think there was a bit of 'sour grapes' involved, the Judge purported to withdraw the LSC funding that had been previously granted for the third psychiatric report. As a result, the matter was put over to today for arraignment. As you can imagine, I was most upset by this turn of events and spent my Monday evening preparing a skeleton argument setting out why I believed that the Judge's direction was unlawful and why what had happened was tantamount to an abuse of process. I don't usually get headaches but I had one last night. However, two paracetamol and a bottle of water later, I finished my skeleton argument and went to bed.
The Judge had thus far won the battle, but I was prepared to win the war. I went to court this morning ready for a showdown but I was to be disappointed (whilst at the same time being relieved). I served my skeleton argument first thing and gave the Judge time to consider it. When he came in to court he apologised for what had transpired the previous day and withdrew his order. He was extremely gracious about it and that made me feel much better. I had gone away from court the day before feeling pretty deflated and the rest of my Monday had been ruined as a result of having to consider and prepare for a further round the following day. However, the matter has now been resolved and I can move on. I have a sneaking suspicion that this particular case may yet cause further difficulties in the future but we'll wait and see.
On a brighter note, it's Shrove Tuesday today which means pancakes for dinner. Always a delight.