Family of woman stabbed to death in Brixton question year-long wait for trial
The family of a woman brutally stabbed to death in a suspected stranger attack in Brixton this month have questioned why they must wait a year for the case to reach court.
Johanita Kossiwa Dogbey was stabbed in the neck in a “completely unprovoked attack” in Stockwell Park Walk, as she returned home from shopping on May 1.
She was reportedly attacked from behind by a man wearing all dark clothing, and died at the scene.
Mohamed Nur, 33, of Bondway in Vauxhall, has been charged with her murder, but his Old Bailey trial is not due to begin until April 29 next year.
In the House of Commons on Tuesday, Vauxhall MP Florence Eshalomi spoke of the dismay felt by Ms Dogbey’s family.
Johanita Dogbey was brutally murdered in Brixton on 1 May.
The trial is not expected to start for a year. That her family & loved ones have to wait that long to get basic justice is plainly wrong.
The court backlog has real emotional consequences for victims. Govt must act. pic.twitter.com/kwgJfrAYHC
— Florence Eshalomi MP (@FloEshalomi) May 16, 2023
“As I held her mother yesterday, trying to console her, she asked me why her family have to wait over a year to get justice,” said the MP.
“Every day that my constituents have to wait is a setence for them”, she told Justice Minister Mark Freer, urging him to expedite such cases so “victims get the justice they deserve”.
Ms Dogbey’s family previously described her as a “smart, dedicated and loving girl who always helped anyone”.
The devout Christian founded sickle cell disease charity the Odette Foundation, and lived with her family about 300 yards from where she was attacked.
“She hasn’t got one bad bone in her body,” they said following her death. “We can’t imagine who would do this to her. Our hearts are completely broken.”
Posting on Twitter on Tuesday, Ms Eshalomi wrote: “That her family & loved ones have to wait that long to get basic justice is plainly wrong. The court backlog has real emotional consequences for victims. Govt must act.”
For the first time in a decade, the average time between a crime happening and justice being served now stands at more than a year.
The number of court cases waiting to be heard has nearly doubled across England and Wales in the past four years, thanks to funding cutbacks, the Covid pandemic and a feud between barristers and government over legal aid rates.
In London, crown courts are dealing with more than a quarter of the nation’s 60,898 backlog, compared with a 20 per cent share four years ago.
Mr Freer said in the Commons that he would look into Ms Dogbey’s case, adding: “There can be a variety of reasons why cases are delayed. It could be availability of counsel, prosecutors, experts, or in other cases, the availability of multiple defendants.
“I can find out if there have been some specific reasons why the case has been delayed.”
Nur, 33, appeared at the Old Bailey earlier this month, charged with Ms Dogbey’s murder, injuring three other members of the public two days before, and having offensive weapons made from scissor blades and broken mirror glass.
Prosecutor Julian Evans said Ms Dogbey died from stab injuries “as a result of a completely unprovoked attack on her”.
Two days before, on April 29, Nur allegedly attacked two women and a man in quick succession in Brixton at about 11.30pm.
It is alleged that all three were set upon “without warning, without provocation and apparently at random”. They were said to have suffered cuts to the face or cheek.
Nur was arrested after being stopped by police on Brixton High Street allegedly in possession of a weapon fashioned from a piece of broken mirror.
Members of Ms Dogbey’s family appeared tearful as they sat in the well of the court for the preliminary hearing, at which Nur spoke only to confirm his identity.
Judge Mark Lucraft KC set a plea hearing for July 25, and a provisional three-week trial at the Old Bailey from April 29, 2024.
Nur was remanded into custody.