Judge discharges jury on day 62 of the second re-trial of a group of brothers from a Traveller family in Modern Slavery case
13 October 2022
In a case yesterday (12/10/22) in which Drystone Chambers Stephen Donnelly was defending, a Judge at Stafford Crown Court discharged a jury on day 62 of the second re-trial of a group of brothers from a Traveller family accused of offences contrary to the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
The original trial commenced in November 2018 and related to events occurring in 2013-2015. Trial (and re-trial) proceedings have, in total, taken 41 weeks of court time in which the barristers have attended for 140 days; a total of 7 juries have been empanelled. The Crown are now considering if a third re-trial is to take place in April 2024. In his concluding remarks to the jury, the Judge stated:
‘This case stands out as unique for me – as it does for the barristers – in the perpetual stream of difficulties we have had to field. The case has thrown up an extraordinary number of questions of law which the barristers have had to consider and then argue in front of me…’
Stephen Donnelly (leading Rebecca Penfold), instructed by Evans Hayes Burnell Solicitors in Swansea, has acted for the second defendant throughout proceedings – he has, through this and other similar cases, considerable experience in representation of members of the Traveller community and recognises the importance of establishing a solid working relationship with the lay-client at an early stage in proceedings.