Magistrates court changes will hit victims and witnesses claims commissioner
9:16am Friday 15th March 2013 in News
PROPOSALS to hold most of Wiltshire’s criminal trials at Chippenham could mean extra stress for victims and witnesses, the police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson has said.
HM Courts and Tribunals Service is considering the suggestion which it says will result in cases being dealt with more efficiently and give clerks the ability to list trials on three consecutive days at one courthouse.
But Mr MacPherson explained: “Most victims and witnesses find appearing in court very stressful and long journey times will only add to that stress, as well as increase the possibility of non-attendance at trials.”
He added: “We are told that trials may take place more locally where there are exceptional circumstances. I would want to be reassured that such travel difficulties for victims and witnesses will always be considered a good reason to try a case in the local court.”
The proposals include centralising first time remand hearings at Swindon Magistrates Court and reducing the frequency of youth court sessions to one every two weeks in Chippenham, Swindon and Salisbury.