Trial aborted, lawyer awarded $6k

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser

The defence lawyer of an Albany man accused of assaulting three police officers has been awarded costs of $6000 by a magistrate despite the trial being aborted before it began.

Stephen Alexander Scott was set to stand trial in Albany Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, denying three counts of assaulting a public officer in January, when the trial was adjourned for four months.

Magistrate Steven Malley made the order on Tuesday and labelled the situation a “significant waste of the court’s time” after a police prosecution error meant a failure to notify defence lawyer Natasha Stewart of the removal of a key witness.

The court heard a medical practitioner was withdrawn as a witness by police, who failed to notify the defence, who were expecting the opportunity to cross-examine.

Ms Stewart called for the charges to be discontinued before applying for costs covering her flights from Perth, accommodation, taxis and daily fee after the expected day-long trial was aborted.

While deliberating on the costs application, Mr Malley questioned why a barrister was required to be sourced from Perth when Albany was “littered with competent counsel” before deciding to make the order for costs to be awarded regardless of the outcome of the trial.

A new trial date was set for November 17.

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