Madam President, I wonder if before the witness comes in I just want to make a couple of points about the fact that this witness is being called now. Can I make it quite clear that the Defence do not intend or wish to be obstructive in any way, but I simply want to raise the manner in which this witness has been bumped up the call order because this witness was in fact going to be not the next, nor the one after, but the third witness after the witness who has just given evidence.
My learned friends opposite did give us notice in a series of notifications. Starting on 1 September we got their list of Prosecution witnesses for this week and in that notice the present witness 189 didn't feature at all.
We then had a further notification, dated 8 September, and in that notification this witness's name did then appear as the fourth witness this week. In fact the witness to follow the one who has just given evidence is going to be 122, followed by 125, followed by 062 and then the present witness, so she was going to be the fourth witness this week.
On 9 September we got a further notice dealing with an addendum for witnesses next week, and then on Monday of this week at 4.59 p.m., that's to say one minute before 5 o'clock on Monday, we got an email simply saying that the Prosecution proposed to call this witness next as soon as the witness who has just gone was finished because of scheduling issues for the impending witness.
Now in the pre-trial conference that was held in May - I call it a pre-trial conference, but it was a pre-trial hearing that was held before the full Court on 7 May last year - an undertaking was given and indeed it's referred to in one of the three notifications that I've just referred the Court to. My typeface is slightly different - my font, as so often, is rather different from the font that's referred to, but I'm sure we're all talking about the same passage. My learned friend, Ms Hollis - in answer to a question from Mr Khan, and indeed her Honour Justice Sebutinde then presiding, my learned friend said that they would indeed produce at least two weeks before the witnesses were due to be called a witness list and call order.
Now, I'm simply making the point that from our point of view preparing the case and preparing witnesses amongst us is obviously a logistical matter. To be told at one minute to 5 on Monday that the Prosecution proposed bumping up the list from the fourth following witness to the immediately following witness with no explanation other than because of scheduling issues for the witness isn't particularly helpful.
In fact we have been able to rejig our own working arrangements and I am now going to be able to deal with this witness, but for all we knew - and I think I can say this on Mr Griffiths' behalf. For all we knew he could have finished the witness who has just left the stand during the course of Tuesday and then 189 would be on the witness stand well out of the call order and indeed not two weeks before we had been notified of her being proposed to be used, but only in the preceding week had we been told that she was proposed to be called.
So I'm simply asking those opposite that, if they are going to make a change in the running order as they have done in this instance in bringing a witness up from number four to number one, they do give both ourselves and indeed the Court the courtesy of an explanation rather than simply saying, "Because of scheduling issues we're now going to call this witness".
I'm effectively putting down a marker, I hope in an uncontroversial way, to invite those opposite to attempt to give us both more notice if they can and something better by way of explanation than a two word phrase relating to scheduling difficulties. We are not standing in their way and we are seeking to be as cooperative as we can, but we do think this needs a little bit more explanation than that two word phrase that we've so far had.