Thursday, October 19, 2006

Cost of Cockups

A House of Commons committee has had a look at money wasted in courts (see Telegraph article) and has said things about the performance of the police and the CPS that most magistrates would echo. I have been saying for years that what the CPS needed was not so much more lawyers as a few decent clerical staff who could check that files were complete and in the right place, and do such simple things as telephoning or emailing witnesses a few days before the trial to remind them that they are required. Time and again we have suffered missing police and civilian witnesses, because nobody had warned them properly. The court's only power is to refuse to adjourn, forcing the Crown to offer no evidence. That isn't justice either, but it's an adversarial system that we are operating, and the rule is put up or shut up.

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