Sunday, December 09, 2012
Keep Taking The Tablets
From Bystander J
Technology is slowly starting to arrive in the Magistrates' Court. The CPS is starting to load up case files onto shiny new pads thus avoiding lugging around tonnes of paper between courts and office. Great idea yes? Actually, not really. Here’s one scenario, probably repeated at a court near you.
Picture the scene at Blanktown Mags. It has 8 courts sitting at any one time, at least 3 of which are dealing with adult CPS matters today, 1 busy remand court and 2 trial courts. The remand court has a CPS staffer complete with pad. The 2 trial courts have CPS agents armed with paper files. One of the trial courts collapses (probably due to the fact that the CPS has failed to provide primary disclosure to the defence – but that’s a whole different posting!!). The court offers help to their hard pressed colleagues in the remand court. But wait…all the CPS files are loaded onto the shiny pad…there are no other papers for the CPS agent to work from…all he or she can do is borrow the court papers which are fairly minimal (the charge sheet only at first hearing perhaps) leading to embarrassment, inefficiency, delay and frustration all round…and this is deemed ‘progress’. How can a bail application be handled for example without the necessary information to hand?
At least until sufficient technology is made available to the CPS and its agents, all this will do is further bring the Criminal Justice System into disrepute as it’s made to look idiotic and stupid in the eyes of the defendants and the outside world. Once again, I suspect that the idea (which isn’t inherently bad) just was not thought through properly at the coalface. Sad, but true…