Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
Court cases can take five months
Court cases are taking up to five months to be heard by magistrates in Brighton.
A representative from the Magistrates’ Association said the situation was “regrettable”, adding delays were due to budget cuts, fewer staff and tight resources.
Brighton Magistrates’ Court has been highlighted as an area of “most need” in the country by HM Courts and Tribunals, which will implement a new scheduling policy from April 1 so that more cases can be heard each day.
Victim Support has warned delays in hearing cases could seriously undermine the confidence of victims and witnesses.
Jo King JP, council representative of the Magistrates Association, said: “Last year some cases took up to five months to be heard.
“It is an issue. Delays have got longer over the last few years for a number of reasons, including reductions in budgets and fewer legal advisers, whilst magistrates’ court closures like the one in Lewes don’t help.
“We’ve been working to try and minimise waiting time for trials, including the use of virtual courts with video links to save people travelling long distances and the use of digital filing.
“Court staff and magistrates are aware of the needs of victims and witnesses in particular.
“It would be wrong of me not to say we’re very conscious of it. Everyone’s focus is to improve matters as best as we can within the budget that we have.”
Last week, Justice Minister Damian Green revealed plans for fast-track courts that will focus on a particular type of crime, such as traffic offences or shoplifting, with the aim of being able to deal with a high volume of cases quickly and efficiently.
- Lose your head at Brighton Fringe - literally
- Sussex hospital gets blood recycling technology
- Sussex hospital boss backs calls for local food
- Sussex MP's bid for civil partnerships for straight couples fails to derail gay marriage bill
- Businessman is still fighting to get Hove ice rink approved