A custody time limit was extended for good and sufficient cause where the trial could not proceed on the listed date because of the defence's failure to notify the court of an increase in the time estimate.Application by the claimant ('T') for judicial review of a decision of HH Judge Burke QC extending a custody time limit. T was charged with several either-way offences of harassment and threats to kill and was remanded in custody. After the initial plea and directions hearing, prosecution and defence counsel agreed that the original time estimate of seven days required extending, but no prior notice was given to the court and the trial was listed for seven days. On the trial date both counsel sought an extension of the time estimate which led to a further adjournment because there was no judge available for a ten-day trial. The trial had previously been adjourned when the defence were not ready to proceed. After investigation into the availability of dates in Luton and neighbouring regions, the trial was re-listed for the earliest available date and the custody time limit was extended accordingly. The judge found good and sufficient cause, for the purposes of Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 s.22(3)(a)(iii), in the history of the conduct of the case and the need to detain T in custody in view of the risk of interference with witnesses. No evidence was found that the prosecution had failed to act with all due diligence and expedition. T claimed that the failure to list the trial for ten days was a court error.HELD: The tape recordings of the hearing at which the time estimate extension was sought showed that it was probably the failure by the defence to notify the court of the extended time estimate that was the cause of the trial being unable to proceed on the dated fixed. Although neither the judge nor the parties had previously examined the recordings of proceedings leading up to the ruling on the custody time limit, they showed that good and substantial cause had been demonstrated. Whilst the judgment on its face appeared to have placed weight on the nature of the offences and the desirability of keeping T in custody, it was clear from the recordings that the judge had correctly concentrated on the cause relied on by the prosecution, namely the error in listing, and that he had had no alternative but to reach the conclusion that he did on the material before him.Application dismissed.
 EWHC 2381 (Admin)