A judge has this morning (Wed) fixed a trial date for the 26-year-old man accused of murdering Elland mum-of-two Levi Ogden during a night out in Halifax.
Lloyd Birkby, of Langdale Street, Halifax, appeared before Judge Jonathan Rose via a video to HMP Leeds for a 20-minute hearing during which a timetable for the progress of his case was agreed with the prosecution and defence counsel.
Birkby was not asked to enter a plea to the murder allegation or two further charges of common assault during the hearing at Bradford Crown Court, but Judge Rose indicated that if a trial was required it was expected to last five days.
After discussions about the service of evidence by the prosecution the judge confirmed that the trial would be fixed to start on April 27 next year.
Judge Rose said he was adjourning Birkby’s plea and trial preparation hearing until January 6 when the defendant would be brought to court from custody and he would be asked to enter his plea to the murder charge.
Barrister Stephen Wood, for Birkby, confirmed that he was not making any bail application on behalf of his client, but he urged the judge to emphasise to everybody the need for restraint in making comments on social media about the case and not to jeopardise justice being done.
Mr Wood said the defence were monitoring social media comments carefully and some posts had already come to their attention which could have the potential to impact on a fair trial.
Judge Rose said he adopted Mr Wood’s words and added:”Cases such as this inevitably attract attention amongst the public. That is understandable, but the overriding objective for all concerned in this case must be to achieve justice which can only be done through the proper court process and not by comments made by any individual, however well meant, in any form of social media.”
At the end of the hearing the judge confirmed that Birkby would remain in custody and come to the crown court in January.
Ms Ogden, 26, died in hospital after being fatally injured during an incident in Silver Street, Halifax, in the early hours of Sunday morning.
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