Victims of serious crime now wait almost a year-and-a-half for the suspects to go on trial while judges sit “idle” after the government cut their sitting days – despite Guardian analysis finding almost half of all crown courtrooms in England and Wales are empty each day. Government statistics show that the average crown court case takes 525 days to go from offence to completion, up 34% from 392 days in 2010. The delay begins with the police, who have had their numbers cut by 20,600 since 2010. Ministry of Justice (MoJ) statistics show that overwhelmed forces now take an average of 331 days from the date of the offence to charge someone with a crime that will see them tried at a crown court, up from 205 days in 2010.
The suspects then wait longer for their cases to be tried in court because the government has been reducing the number of sitting days for crown court judges as part of cost-cutting measures at the MoJ. Allocations fell from 97,400 in 2018-19 to 82,300 in 2019-20, according to the senior presiding judge, Lady Justice Macur. Judges are still paid the same annual salary but find themselves idle behind the scenes, unable to hear the mountain of cases piling up. The Guardian analysed the listings for all crown courts in England and Wales on one day in December and found that of the 729 available courtrooms showing on the government’s Xhibit system, which relays hearing information, 350 were not sitting.
Read more: Guardian, https://is.gd/h9BCOh