A court in West London had to adjourn a number of cases due to ‘lack of drivers’ for vans.
At Isleworth Crown Court today (Thursday, November 25), a long list of adjournments had been pinned to the court schedule, with many of the re-listed dates going into late December and early 2022.
A family was told that their son’s trial had been moved from 6 p.m. 10.00 to kl. 14.00 due to the lack of staff who could drive defendants to court.
Other cases were completely canceled and had been moved to a later date.
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The backlog of criminal cases had reached over 60,000 in June 2021, with London being the worst-hit area since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
London’s waiting times have increased by 72 per cent, according to a study published by the National Audit Office (NOA) in October.
An inspection of detention facilities in central and south London in August 2021 noted that some detainees were forced to wait up to seven hours before being transferred due to staff shortages.
The prisons are also struggling to recruit new staff as the number of inmates reaches capacity due to delays in case processing.
According to the Prison Officer Association (POA), the prison system is “close to breaking point” as the number of ads for roles increased by 13 percent ahead of Christmas.
Since the onset of the pandemic, the backlog of Crown trials has increased by 19,000 across England and Wales, prompting calls for government action.
NOA said the backlog was set to last beyond 2024, leaving victims, witnesses and families to wait for years for justice.
Following the publication of the crime statistics, Justice Minister Dominic Raab issued a statement in which he said: “It is unacceptable that many victims have to wait so long to seek justice.
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“The pandemic put an unprecedented limit on our ability to hold jury trials, but we have made great strides in the magistrates’ courts to reduce the number of outstanding cases.
“With new super-courtrooms, the extension of the Nightingale Courts to 2022 and borderless court days, we will restore the speedy access to justice that victims deserve.”
In an effort to alleviate the stress on the justice system, he announced in November a new “super courtroom” in Loughborough, the second of its kind in the UK, where 12 defendants can sit behind the quay.
An increase of £ 1 billion. in the financing for legal arrears had also been secured in the October annual expenditure review.
MyLondon has approached Isleworth Crown Court for comment.
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