Pilot scheme for motoring offences needs change
Posted: 30th May 2013
Posted in: Road Traffic Accidents
Following a pilot scheme in nine areas, traffic courts are to be opened in England and Wales to allow effective prosecution for minor motoring offences.
With 500,000 minor motoring offences going through the courts each year, it is clear that a new method of prosecution must be introduced in order to cut delays in the criminal justice system and free up magistrates time. Ministers say that the courts have become congested with minor cases, therefore limiting the time available for more serious offences.
With trails running in Essex, Hampshire, Kent, Lincolnshire, Metropolitan Police, Nottinghamshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and West Yorkshire – police say they have solved this problem by introducing a far simpler legal process. By April 2014, the hope is to have a traffic court in every police area with 160 cases being handled a day by specialist prosecutors.
Justice Minister Damian Green states: “The justice system must respond more quickly and effectively to the needs of victims, witnesses and local communities, and these dedicated courts will enable magistrates to better organise their work and drive greater efficiency”.
Speeding, traffic light offences and insurance related cases will be amongst the offences that these specialist courts will deal with. However, as of present, these new courts will only have jurisdiction in the 90% of cases in which motorists plea guilty. If they contest the offence, it will still have to be dealt with by magistrate courts.
Not only does this new system free up time in courts, but it welcome a far more fair and effective method in handling motoring offences. Labour shadow justice spokesman Sadiq Khan agrees by saying: “It is important that we have swift justice, and I look forward to seeing results of how this works in practice”.
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