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John Vander Luit

Editor, Solicitors Journal

Man misses court after firm makes second-class postage blunder

Man misses court after firm makes second-class postage blunder


Judge wants letter delivered 'personally' as it is 'perhaps the best way'

A senior partner must explain to a judge why a letter advising of an upcoming trial date was sent to his client with second-class postage, resulting in the defendant failing to arrive at court on time.

The defendant was due to appear at Hull Crown Court on Monday 22 May to face allegations of dangerous driving and burglary, according to a report from the Hull Daily Mail.

After failing to attend, the court heard how the man's solicitors, Barker and Copeman, only sent the letter with a second-class stamp on Friday 19 May to advise of the trial date.

'I want an explanation from a senior partner,' said HHJ Jeremy Richardson QC, the recorder of Hull and East Riding. 'What is the price of a second-class stamp? I can't remember, because we all tend to use first class stamps.

'Nobody sends any important correspondence by second-class stamps. It should have been a first-class stamp.'

The judge told the defendant's barrister, Cathrine Kioko-Gilligan of Wilberforce Chambers, that he wanted an explanation in writing from the law firm no later than 4pm on Tuesday 23 May and signalled that handing it in personally was 'perhaps the best way'.

A warrant for the defendant's arrest was not issued and the case was adjourned until Friday 26 May.

It is as yet unclear why Barker and Copeman decide to use a second-class stamp (56p) rather than a first-class stamp (65p). What is clear, however, is that the cost to HM Courts and Tribunal Service '“ and the taxpayer '“ will be far more.