Accused causes trial delay

A WOMAN who is alleged to have set fire to a rainwater tank and a vehicle at separate Rose City addresses had her Warwick District Court appearance pushed back until August because she missed her psychiatric assessment appointment.

Shirley Nancy Squires, 21, faces three charges of endangering property by fire but missed her psychiatric assessment due to her ill health.

Squires defence counsel said the assessment findings were integral to the case and asked for the matter to be adjourned until the next Warwick District Court sitting, which is scheduled for next August.

Judge Leanne Clare SC impressed the importance of Squires not to miss her next date with the psychiatrist and extended her bail which includes no contact with the complainants or presence near the properties where the alleged fires took place.

“Be sure to impress upon your client the speed she might be taken into custody if she breaches these conditions,” Judge Clare said.

The delay in Squires’ Warwick District Court appearance was one of about four cases in which judge Clare expressed “frustration” in regards to the region’s lengthy delays in the handling of serious criminal cases.

“From where I’m sitting there has been an oversight,” she said.

“If Warwick is like the usual sample (of the District Court sittings)... guilty pleas and those sorts of things need to fleshed out before the court appearances by both (prosecution and defence) parties.

“Very frustrating that there’s a list that’s growing. Simple matters which could be dealt with quickly and effectively.”

The District Court – the middle level in the Queensland judicial system between magistrates courts and the Supreme Court – visits Warwick and Stan- thorpe no more than four times a year.

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