A JUDGE has hit out at a “disgraceful” and “wholly unsatisfactory” delay in the trial of a man accused of stealing £164,000 from his employer.

Andrew Ling, 38, of Cysgod-Y-Coed in Cwmann, is alleged to have stolen £164,290 from Perpetual V2G Systems Ltd in Ceredigion between March 30, 2016, and June 12, 2018.

He denies a charge of theft by an employee.

Ling was due to face a two-week trial, starting on Monday, September 11.

However, a delay in the report from the defence’s expert forensic accountant has led to the trial having to be vacated, with the next available date starting on January 29, 2024 – more than a year after Ling’s initial appearance in court.

Defence barrister Ashanti-Jade Walton said the expert had reported that the “sheer volume of material, the need for clarification over certain bank statements, and the holiday period” had caused the delay.

Judge Paul Thomas branded this explanation “ridiculous” and “wholly unsatisfactory”, saying that it was agreed on Ling’s previous appearance on August 8 that the expert had all the materials he needed to start the report.

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“A two-week trial will have to be vacated because the forensic accountant did not get on with his job,” he said.

Ms Walton said that there “was still material missing” after that hearing, meaning that the forensic accountant “go back to Mr Ling” for them.

“There has been delay after delay in the case,” Judge Thomas said.

“Two weeks have been set aside. That date has been known since the plea and trial preparation hearing (in February).

“It’s simply not satisfactory.”

Judge Thomas reluctantly agreed to push the trial back, as prosecutor Dean Pulling raised that the Crown’s expert would also need time to go through and analyse the defence expert’s report.

“This is a disgraceful situation,” Judge Thomas added.

The first available date for a two-week trial was starting on Monday, January 29, 2024.