Bristol murder trial delayed by day after administrative error at prison

A teenager on trial for murder was brought 42 miles from HMP Cardiff to Bristol, and then taken straight back again.

Through no fault of his own Kairon Sawyers did not arrive at Bristol Crown Court until just before 4pm today (Wednesday, April 20). The case was listed from 10am but due to an administrative error he was not put on a van until late in the day.

Trial judge The Recorder of Bristol His Honour Judge Peter Blair QC kept a jury on hold in the hope Sawyers could be produced and the case could progress. But by the time Sawyers arrived in Small Street it was agreed there was no usable time left in the day, and the judge ordered the prison van to be turned back at the door of the court.

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The judge told the jury: “We have lost a complete court day. I had an apology by email from the deputy governor of the prison. That is not going to be sufficient. All I can do is apologise to you for the frustration we are all feeling. There is no blame on Mr Sawyers.”

Sawyers, 19, of Ewell Road, Whitchurch, denies murdering 18-year-old Dontae Davis in Lawrence Hill in October last year. He has told the jury he did not offer a fight to the other teen, who was fatally stabbed, and claims that he acted in self-defence.

The jury has heard Sawyers had been associated with Bristol group the 24s and Dontae was said to be associated with rival group the 16s. Defence barrister Diana Ellis QC is part-way through her closing speech before the judge sums up the case to the jury tomorrow, and they retire to consider their verdict.

The case continues.

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