Corby rape case crown court delay ‘a matter of national shame’

Barrister Daniel Bishop
Barrister Daniel Bishop

A barrister in the case of a Corby rapist imprisoned on Friday has hit-out at court delays that meant the victim and defendant had to wait four years for sentencing.

Daniel Bishop, the defence barrister in the case of Jordan Carley who admitted a July 2015 rape of a 12-year-old, was heavily critical of the ailing court system.

Northampton Crown Court (the orange column) had the longest wait out of any crown court in the country during the first quarter of 2019. The bar chart shows that the average waiting time from commital to the crown court to the first hearing is nearly 25 weeks - double the national average which is 12.9 weeks. NNL-190720-191445005

Northampton Crown Court (the orange column) had the longest wait out of any crown court in the country during the first quarter of 2019. The bar chart shows that the average waiting time from commital to the crown court to the first hearing is nearly 25 weeks - double the national average which is 12.9 weeks. NNL-190720-191445005

Mr Bishop, who mitigated for Carley of Gainsborough Road, Corby, said: “He was 16-years-old at the time of the offence.

“He’s 20 now and faces being sentenced as an adult.

“It’s now four years on and he’s nearly 21 and there’s been a delay of nearly four years from the offence itself and more than three years from the arrest in January 2016.”

Mr Bishop said that Carley had given his account of the events to police a week after his arrest in January 2016, adding: “There was bound to be some delay because the police had investigations that they had to undertake but that does not account for three-and-a-half years.

Jordan Carley

Jordan Carley

“There was, of course, another complainant and there will have been some delay in respect of that but it was sent to this court in 2017 and a guilty plea was entered to the rape charge. We’re now nearly two years on from that and that delay is a matter of national shame.

“This is a serious sexual assault involving a very young complainant and a very young defendant.

“She’s had it hanging over her head, as has Mr Carley.

“It’s a matter of profound regret.

“We can’t underestimate the effect the delay has had on the victim and the defendant.”

Carley was eventually jailed for four-and-a-half years. His victim fell pregnant during the attack and had to have a termination.

Alarming figures show that during 2018/19 Northampton Crown Court recorded longer waiting times for its 1050 cases to be heard than any other court in England and Wales.

The average time taken from when a case was committed to Northampton Crown Court to the first hearing was nearly 25 weeks - almost double the national average of 13 weeks.

The Courts and Tribunals Judiciary figures also show that, for the 106 sexual offences heard at the court, the average victim had to wait a staggering 49 weeks from the case being sent to Northampton until the first hearing took place. The national average for sexual offences is 25 weeks.

Earlier this month Chief Constable Nick Adderley said that he was working with the chief prosecutor to try to speed up the system because it was taking up to two years for drugs prosecutions to move through the courts.

Those working in the criminal justice system have been increasingly vocal about the problems they are encountering because of huge funding cuts.

Corby and Kettering’s magistrates’ courts, that dealt with less serious cases, were both shut down three years ago as part of more than 80 closures across the country, meaning defendants, witnesses and victims have to travel to Northampton for their cases. Inquests for the north of the county are also no longer held in Kettering since the closure of the court.

A number one bestselling book, The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How it’s Broken, exposed some of the serious problems in the system that have seen spending on the criminal justice system cut by 26 per cent between 2010 and 2016,with a further 15 per cent of cuts to to take place before next year.