A BUILDER who was convicted in his absence for harassment has now had the charges thrown out – because the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) issued a court summons too late.
Gordon Miller was convicted of two charges of harassment in his absence on December 10 and 14 last year at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court after he travelled to Turkey for dental treatment a day before the first case.
Miller, of Winchester Road, Buckland, was accused of harassing his elderly neighbours at his other home in Tangier Road, Baffins, and the same charge against the landlord of The Baffins pub.
But district judge Anne Arnold ruled the 52-year-old had a ‘reasonable cause’ for not attending the cases after Miller said he was in agony with a swollen face and painful teeth, having had bridge and crown work done on the cheap in the country eight years ago.
The judge cleared him of two charges of failing to surrender to custody relating to the two trials, reopened his harassment cases and rescinded the convictions. New trial dates were then set.
But as Miller appeared in court to face the charges he was told the cases against him were not proceeding after the CPS put its postal requisition for him to attend court in too late – leaving one of the alleged victims making a wasted journey from Somerset.
Prosecutor Lucy Linnington said: ‘The summons was issued out of time.’
Chairman of the bench Gary Lucy said: ‘How has it taken so long? This has cost the taxpayer a lot of money. The public would be most unimpressed.’
Ms Linnington replied: ‘It is regretful the position we find ourselves in.’
A CPS spokesperson said: ‘The Crown Prosecution Service had to stop the prosecution against Gordon Miller who was charged with two offences of harassment due to the period of time between the alleged offences and the issuing of the postal requisition in this case.
‘This period of time exceeded six months which is the maximum allowed for a summary offence. As a result, the proceedings against Mr Miller could not legally continue.
‘Our Senior Crown Prosecutor explained the position in full to both victims who attended Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court.’