Lord Justice Scott Baker
Assistant Deputy Coroner of Inner West London
Court 73, Royal Courts of Justice
29 November 2007
I promised to give you an update on progress. We have currently a full programme of witnesses between now and Thursday 20 December except for Wednesday 12 December in the morning (when one of you is unable to sit) and of course tomorrow and a week tomorrow. As mentioned, we shall be sitting on Friday 14 December.
After we have finished on Thursday 20 December you will not be required again until Monday 7 January and thereafter we shall continue sitting Mondays to Thursdays.
It is too early yet to predict with any certainty when we shall conclude the evidence but my best guess, if I can put it that way, is early March.
Difficulties with Paparazzi evidence and that of others who cannot be found are going to add some time overall to the evidence.
Legal issues about reading the evidence of witnesses whose evidence is disputed have been resolved by the Court of Appeal to the extent that it would be necessary for me to call witnesses to prove the contents of documents. Details of how the Court’s ruling is to be applied in practice and what evidence I shall have read to you are yet to be worked out.
Once all the evidence has been concluded it is likely there will be some legal discussion about, among other things, what directions I should give to you when I sum the case up to you. That will obviously take place in your absence. I shall then need some time to complete the preparation of what I am going to say to you.
I shall then sum the case up to you and when that is complete you will retire to consider your verdicts.
Easter is early next year – Easter Sunday falls on 23 March. We shall not be sitting on Good Friday or Easter Monday, but I do not want at this stage to talk about any longer break than that because I simply do not know what stage the case will have reached.
Whilst we have had hitches, and will no doubt continue to do so, many witnesses have taken less time than was expected.Obviously I cannot anticipate the unexpected such as new issues arising or loss of days through illness, but broadly I am confident we are still on track to finish within 6 months of the start which would take us to 2 April.