The first day of any longish trial often seems to be devoted to procedural matters, and the first day of Sabine McNeill’s trial on 17 counts of violating a restraining order and four counts of harassment causing distress and alarm was no exception.
The trial, before HHJ Sally Cahill QC, is taking place at Southwark Crown Court and is expected to run for four weeks in total. For the better part of the day, those who wished to watch the proceedings were banished to the hallways, while (we assume) various negotiations took place.
At one point members of the public were allowed into the gallery briefly, only to be turned out again to make room for extra members of the jury pool. Due to the anticipated length of this case, it was important to ensure that all members of the jury would be available for the duration.
Given the attempts by Sabine’s supporters to rally the troops for the event, we were a bit surprised that only six showed up to cheer their friend on. Belinda McKenzie was there, of course, along with Mary Rooney, and four people unfamiliar to us. All were civil and well behaved.
After several false starts, during which members of the public were shunted in and out of the court, at 2:45 p.m. court resumed to hear arguments as to whether certain evidence from the August 2017 trial of Rupert Quaintance could be admissible as evidence in the current trial.
We cannot delve into details of the evidence in question, as the jury was not present during the discussion, but following another recess, Judge Cahill ruled that she would allow certain evidence from Rupert’s trial to be heard in this case.
Court will resume tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., at which time a physician’s report is expected to be presented in support of an attempt to have Sabine released on bail for the duration of the trial.
As always, we would ask that our readers refrain from any speculation or comments which might prejudice the outcome of this trial. Thanks for your co-operation!