'New focus' on 'swift justice'
Jul 13 2012
Criminals could be dealt with in days or even hours under Government plans to bring in "swift and sure justice", ministers are to reveal.
Court hours will be more flexible, technology will enable police officers to give evidence remotely and video links for defendants and witnesses will become routine, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said.
Police will also be given simpler guidance on how to deal with offenders, while magistrates will have the power to check officers' use of cautions and penalty notices following concerns that serious and persistent offenders were escaping justice. The move could see "straightforward" shoplifting cases being resolved in under two weeks, compared with the current five, the White Paper will say.
Under the plans, magistrates will also be given a stronger role in community justice, with single magistrates sitting outside of courts, such as in community centres, "to dispense rapid and effective justice in low-level, uncontested cases". Neighbourhood justice panels will also be brought in to deal with anti-social behaviour and low-level crime, with offenders making amends to victims and repairing any damage done.
Policing and criminal justice minister Nick Herbert will say: "It is a basic principle of justice that it should be delivered without delay, yet straightforward cases that could be dealt with in days or even hours are taking weeks and months. Justice delayed is justice denied, and victims are the biggest losers."
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