BRADFORD'S TOP judge has hit out at "half-baked and late" applications to protect vulnerable victims when they are giving evidence in the Crown Court.

The city's Recorder, Judge Roger Thomas QC, was dealing with several requests from trial lawyers for screens and video links to prevent the defendant and people in the public gallery seeing the person in the witness box.

The "special measures" applications heard yesterday included those for a 75-year-old woman complainant in a bogus builder case, an alleged rape victim and people due to give evidence in a fraud trial.

The court heard that one witness was in fear and distress. His speech was unclear and he needed a social worker with him.

A female witness in a trial coming up in just a few days was "frightened to death".

Judge Thomas criticised the Crown Prosecution Service for submitting late and poorly prepared applications.

"I am fed up with advocates turning up with a bunch of papers and doing nothing at the preliminary hearing," he said.

"I am clattering people round the head in court in the hope that things sharpen up."

Judge Thomas said of one application: "It is late and it fails to address altogether what you may or may not want."

He granted most of the applications and adjourned others to be addressed by the judge at the start of the trial.