A Crown Court Judge has strongly condemned defence barrister Jon Tarrant for failing to provide essential information during Monday’s pre-trial preparation of a Milford Haven man accused of suffocating his partner.

The case against Warren Harper had to be adjourned for 30 minutes this morning (Monday, August 1) after barrister, Jon Tarrant was unable to provide the Crown with essential information concerning his client’s plea.

“There has been sloppiness here, but it’s not going to happen in my court,” Judge Huw Rees told Mr Tarrant. “Sit down.”

Harper, who is accused of suffocating his former partner during an alleged domestic incident on July 3, appeared in court via a video link from Swansea Prison where he has been remanded in custody since his appearance at Haverfordwest magistrates court on July 4.


“His committal was on July 4 but Mr Tarrant is still unable to produce the basis of his client's plea,” continued Judge Huw Rees.

“I’m not going to fumble around in the dark for the inconvenience of anyone else. How can a court possibly work if they haven’t even got a basis of plea?”

A basis of a defendant’s plea must be submitted to the Crown during a pre-trial preparation hearing outlining the factual version of events which the defendant accepts he or she is guilty of committing.

Following a 30-minute adjournment, Jon Tarrant discussed the matter in conference with barrister Sian Cutter, who was acting for the Crown, and provided her with a verbal account of the basis of plea.

Harper, 30, of Precelly Place, Milford Haven has denied suffocating his partner during the alleged incident on July 3. He also denies an additional charge of damaging household items and clothing belonging to his partner.

He has pleaded guilty to a third charge of causing actual bodily harm to the complainant during the same incident on July 3.

The Crown claims that Harper put his hands over the complainant’s mouth and squeezed, with the result of her being unable to breath.

But Tarrant claimed there remains ‘some degree of confusion’ about that evening’s events.

After listening to the evidence, Judge Rees adjourned the matter for a pre-sentence report.

“The report needs to make an assessment of the risk he poses to women in general, but particularly in a domestic setting,” he said. Warren Harper will next appear before Swansea Crown Court on August 30. He was remanded in custody.