THE CASE of a Cardigan man accused of raping a girl under the age of 13 has been delayed due to barristers’ strike action.
Nathan Edwin William Griffiths, 32, of Golwg-y-Castell, Cardigan, is alleged to have raped the young girl on two occasions between January 19, 2014 and January 20, 2015.
However, the Swansea Crown Court hearing on Wednesday (Sept 9), where a plea was expected, had to be postponed until November due to the strike.
If he pleads not guilty by then, Griffiths’ four-day trial will proceed on February 27. Griffiths was released on bail.
Barristers working on criminal cases say they are on strike because they have seen deep cuts to their income after government changes to the legal aid system.
Many have quit publicly funded legal aid work, leading to “legal aid deserts”. Barristers who remain say they can no longer survive on the fees and that the criminal justice system is almost at a standstill.
The Criminal Bar Association (CBA) said a government offer of a 15% uplift in fees, which was the minimum increase recommended by the criminal legal aid review, was insufficient and would not apply to the backlog of 58,000 cases in crown courts.