The Lord Chancellor has once again overlooked the needs of victims and witnesses in the East Midlands.
Amidst a burgeoning backlog of cases waiting to be heard in Court in Nottinghamshire, and across the wider East Midlands, not one of the eight locations in the latest round of ‘Nightingale Courts’ is in the East Midlands. This is despite a number of buildings being offered for the purpose, including Nottinghamshire Police’s Training Centre at Hucknall which would have been provided free of charge.
Nottinghamshire’s Deputy PCC Emma Foody leads on criminal justice matters for the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. As a former magistrate, she has seen for herself how delays can affect victims and witnesses.
She said today: “This is an absolute outrage for those seeking justice in the East Midlands. Victims of crime are being let down by the Government once again. The wait for their cases to be heard is currently likely to stretch to several years if nothing changes. That is absolutely unacceptable, they need to see that justice has not ground to a halt.
“It is not just the victims and witnesses facing a long and undetermined wait. Defendants too are finding it hard to cope with the uncertainty.
“We were hoping that the Ministry of Justice would recognise the urgent need for action in this area. Now we learn that despite various offers of accommodation, Nottinghamshire is not on the latest list for a Nightingale Court. Worse still, there is still no sign of plans for a court in the entire region.
“The backlog of cases waiting to go to Court was abysmal pre-Covid and show no sign of abating. It does make you question the sincerity of the Government’s pledge to reduce delays and deliver speedier justice for victims, because it’s not happening here yet.
“Victims of crime must see justice happening. It is their right. The delays are already having a huge impact on public confidence which is why we will continue to call on the Government to open a Nightingale Court in, or close to, Nottinghamshire.”
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Wednesday 23rd September 2020