UPDATED: Top Aylesbury judge hits out after having to work through lunch break

Judge Francis Sheridan launched the attack at Aylesbury Crown Court
Judge Francis Sheridan launched the attack at Aylesbury Crown Court

An angry judge at Aylesbury Crown Court has described the Crown Prosecution Service as a ‘shambles’ after being regularly denied a lunch break.

Furious Judge Francis Sheridan launched the scathing attack on the service during a plea hearing this morning because delays are costing him the meal break he is entitled to.

He expressed his ‘utter frustration’ at having to work through lunch because cases were often delayed by unprepared prosecutors.

Judge Sheridan said: “This is a shambles at the moment. Somebody has got to seize this, somebody must take control of the CPS in this courtroom.

“I work every single lunch hour from one day to the other. We are entitled to a lunch break just like everybody else.

“It’s not right, this.”

He was forced to adjourn a case today because the prosecution had not seen the basis of plea being offered by a defendant accused of robbery and other offences.

Judge Sheridan said: “It is a massive implosion into the taxpayers’ fund.

“Why don’t we publish the list one day early if it means we can get some work done?”

The judge said the previous day he was forced to delay a robbery case because of similar problems.

He said: “It is happening every single day. They (defence counsel) can’t mitigate because the Crown can’t open.”

The judge said the court regularly had to sit through the lunch hour to get through all cases that were being delayed.

He has threatened to send the bill for wasted costs to the CPS and demanded a meeting with the service’s local leader.

A spokesman for Thames and Chiltern CPS said currently less than 6% of trials in Bucks are ‘ineffective’ - the sixth best rate nationwide. The national average is 13%.

She said: “Of course, any delay in court proceedings is regrettable, but this case does not reflect the overall quality of work done by the CPS in Bucks. We are happy to meet with Judge Sheridan and discuss any particular concerns.”