Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Cuts to court will go ahead in ‘pilot period’

09:22 04 October 2012

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple

North Devon Magistrates Court, Barnstaple

Archant

CUTS to North Devon Magistrates’ Court will still go ahead as part of a pilot period running until March.

No criminal cases will be listed on Wednesdays or Thursdays, resulting in the court having to sit its five-and-a-half hour target per day in just three days a week.

Tim Smith, the Justices’ Clerk for Devon, Cornwall and Dorset, confirmed no trials would be moved to Exeter.

But overnight custody remand cases would have to have the first hearing at Exeter Magistrate’s Court on days Barnstaple was out of action, which could lead to increased travel costs for probation services and defence solicitors.

Worries at an open meeting held on Thursday with around 40 people surfaced over the fact an impact assessment would not be carried out until after the pilot period had ended in March.

North Devon MP Nick Harvey said: “If all impact assessments were taken after the event the whole thing would be dragged into disrepute.

“On the whole my confidence in the whole thing now is a bit shaky.”

The move comes after HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) overspent its £75m budget for the South West last year and has been told to make a £6m reduction this year.

Mr Smith told the meeting the cuts would leave the court overstaffed and HMCTS would have to look at moving people’s contracts to Exeter or not filling vacancies.

He said: “In Barnstaple the completed proceedings in 12 months have fallen by 19 per cent in 2011-2012 from 2009-2010.

“These cuts are happening all over Devon and Cornwall and we believe the workload in Barnstaple will fit in to three days a week.”

Speaking after the meeting, North Devon Council leader Brian Greenslade said: “It was evident that many are concerned about the proposals and the impact on the local justice system, and were not reassured by the comments made by Mr Smith.”

Mr Harvey urged everyone at the meeting to keep a ‘rigorous’ record of any costs incurred from the changes made to the court.

The cuts were due to take place this week but many at the meeting were confused as to when exactly the new matrix was due to come to action, with cases still listed for today (Wed).

Mr Smith said the changes ‘would not happen overnight’ and that all interested parties would be notified when the matrix was in place.

0 comments

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 08:20
Boxer cross Harley has plenty of life.

With Dogs Trust Ilfracombe

Read more
Fri, 12:35
Syria fundraiser organisers Jake Slee and Jumoké Fernandez at Bideford's Cafe Onboard venue.

Don’t miss ‘Syria’ at cafe Onboard this Saturday (August 27)

Read more
Fri, 09:06

South West Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust is expecting more than 10,000 calls over the bank holiday weekend.

Read more
Fri, 08:00
Roosting greater horseshoe bats. Picture: John J Kaczanow

Devon Wildlife Trust has teamed up with North Devon AONB for the project.

Read more
Thu, 15:34
RNLI lifeguards have been busy again in 2011 on North Devon beaches. PIC: RNLI.

RNLI lifeguards had a busy week as they rescued people from rip currents and dealt with several serious medical episodes on Croyde and Woolacombe.

Read more
Thu, 11:45
Flora Kyte, Ben Price, Ottelie Kuehne, Hannah Munro-O'Brien, Bethany Lee, Emily Yelland and Helena Reed celebrate top results at South Molton Community College. Picture: Matt Smart

Teenagers across the region opened their results today (Thursday), with more exceptional achievements for schools in the area.

Read more
Thu, 11:39

Mystery surrounds the circumstances as to how the man was found injured in the early hours after Hartland Carnival. Can you help?

Read more
Thu, 10:20
The Seamoor Unit has won a regional award

Seamoor Unit is named ‘best building under £2m’ at the Michelmores Property Awards

Read more
Thu, 09:38
MV Balmoral is welcomed to Bideford. Picture: Graham Hobbs

The vessel arrived in Bideford with 224 passengers as was greeted by the mayor and town crier.

Read more
Thu, 09:34
A pop-up night club transformed the Wrey Arms pub in Sticklepath, Barnstaple. Picture: Contributed

First pop-up club is held at The Wrey Arms with disco, lights and plenty of party spirit.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 20°C

min temp: 14°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications