Just days after the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions was described as incompetent and inefficient by a veteran Supreme Court judge, the organisation has again copped criticism for having another criminal matter adjourned.
Judge Peter Berman was set to sentence the half-sister of former New Zealand rugby league star Joe Galuvao at Sydney’s District Court on Thursday over the death of 16-year-old Aneri Patel on September 15 last year.
Ms Patel was waiting for a bus home when Puipuiomaota Galuvao mounted a footpath in Kogarah in Sydney’s south and hit the teenager.
Galuvao then ploughed through the shopfront of a pharmacy.
She has pleaded guilty to six charges, including dangerous driving occasioning death.
Although Ms Patel’s parents were in court on Thursday and ready to give victim impact statements, Judge Berman was forced to adjourn the matter because the Crown and defence failed to give each other sentencing material in a timely fashion.
Citing acting Justice Robert Shallcross Hulme’s judgment earlier this week, Judge Berman said the DPP’s conduct “was not good enough”.
“The court is available, I’m available to do today’s sentence proceedings.
“I have dedicated time to deal with this matter.
“This is a matter where there are a lot of people who are emotionally connected to the sentence today,” he added.
“For the DPP to say we didn’t think it will be a problem and only got around to drafting facts shortly before the decided sentence hearing is not good enough.”
When it was revealed the defence had also not served a psychologist report until this week, Judge Berman said “it seems that both parties can be criticised for their conduct”.
He stood the matter over to Friday for mention, adding: “I do apologise for everyone involved.”
Two days ago, acting Justice Hulme had published a judgment in which he made scathing remarks about the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
He said he had no choice but to vacate next week’s murder trial of alleged Brothers for Life member Mohammed Hamzy after the DPP served material at a late stage.
“I have now been or acted as a judge of this court for over 20 years and I never cease to be surprised at the extent of the incompetence or the inefficiency within the (DPP),” he said in the judgment on Tuesday.
But in a statement to AAP on Thursday, Director of Public Prosecutions’ Lloyd Babb SC said the comments were not a fair representation of hard work the office had put in over the years.
“Of the thousands of matters dealt with in the NSW District Court each year, a tiny percentage of them involve applications for adjournment by the NSW DPP,” he said.
Galuvao’s matter will return to court for mention on Friday.