‘Overloaded’ Armadale police force risks letting criminals go free

‘Overloaded’ Armadale police force risks letting criminals go free

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A justice crisis is beginning to emerge in Armadale, with criminal cases at risk of being thrown out of court because police investigating officers are becoming overwhelmed by their workloads.

On Tuesday, defence counsel for Karanema Martin Kiel requested a dismissal of her client’s charges “for want of prosecution” at the Armadale Magistrates Court.

Mr Kiel appeared via video link from Casuarina Prison, where he is being housed for allegedly acting as a lookout for two of his relatives during a break-and-enter.

Despite repeated requests to police for disclosure of both the CCTV footage and Mr Kiel’s interview with police, Mr Kiel’s counsel said nothing had been sent through.

“Being able to view the record is critical to provide him with legal advice,” she said.

An order previously made for the disclosure by a sitting magistrate had also not been acted upon.

But Magistrate Brian Mahon was reticent to dismiss the “serious” charges.

He explained that severe understaffing was the likely reason for the investigating officer’s failure to comply with requests and order for disclosure.

“When operational resources are so scant, even when an officer is trying their best sometimes that is not enough,” he said.

He suggested putting the matter off for a further 48 hours to give police one last chance to come up with the goods.

The police prosecutor said she had personally experienced a successful two-day turnaround on one other occasion once the matter was escalated to the superintendent.

Magistrate Mahon said he believed this matter was urgent enough to warrant attention from a superintendent.

He cautioned that should the videos not be shared with defence by Thursday then he would have no choice but to dismiss the charges.