- New courts set up in Midlands and the North but Ministers don’t plan any for the south west
- Backlog of court cases denying justice to victims says local MP
- Luke encourages Ministers to open a new Nightingale Court in Plymouth to address massive and growing court backlog
Labour figures in Plymouth have today called for Government to open a special “Nightingale Court” in the city to deal with the growing backlog of cases waiting to be heard by a judge.
The backlog of court cases in Plymouth and across the far south west has risen enormously since the start of the pandemic with courts being closed and social distancing delaying the reopening of all our region’s courts. In response Ministers have announced 10 new “Nightingale Courts” will be set up, but people in Plymouth would need to travel for hours to access one as our region was left off the list of areas that will get this court boost.
Almost 483,700 cases were waiting to be dealt with in the courts by 17 May, up from 395,600 when the UK’s lockdown came into force in March. Since 2010 162 of the 323 magistrates courts in England and Wales have been closed helping contribute to the backlog.
Luke Pollard, the MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, has expressed his disappointment that Ministers are not planning any new “Nightingale” Courts in the whole of the South West.
This build up of cases means that potentially criminals are still free to roam the streets, and those charged with offences like drunk driving. But the government has come under heavy criticism for only creating these courts in a handful of locations, with the closest ones to Plymouth being in London or Swansea.
Luke Pollard MP said:
“Even before the pandemic there was a growing backlog of cases and this situation has been made worse by the pandemic. With our city’s courts still not able to fully operate due to social distancing measures, I want to see a special Nightingale Court set up in Plymouth, perhaps at the Life Centre, the Council Chamber or even the Drum at the Theatre Royal to hear urgent cases. I want to see Plymouth and the south west get our fair share of this new funding. Why should other regions get the wheels of justice moving faster after the virus than the south west? My job is to stand up for Plymouth and that’s why Plymouth should be the next location for a new Nightingale Court.”
Gareth Derrick, Labour’s candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner in Devon and Cornwall says:
“The backlog of cases queuing for courts means many victims of crime are suffering and may be at risk, often left in limbo for months. Whether they’re domestic abuse survivors, victims of burglary, or a tragic car accident they deserve better. Justice delayed is justice denied. “