Cross party support for Crown Court upgrade
Gloucestershire County Council has agreed to write to the Ministry of Justice to seek investment in the county’s Crown Court so that criminal cases can be dealt with in a way that meets the demands of modern day justice.
At its full council meeting yesterday (Wednesday 15 May), councillors unanimously supported the motion, which agreed that a new court could form part of a 21st century Justice Centre, which may also contain the Magistrate and County Courts.
Gloucester Crown Court is a Grade II listed building linked to Shire Hall. Councillors agreed that the existing facilities, which are used to handle criminal cases in the county, are no longer fit for modern day criminal justice.
Cllr Jeremy Hilton, who proposed the motion, said: “Anyone who has visited Gloucester Crown Court in recent years will be all too aware that the building is not adequate for the demands of modern day justice. We regularly hear reports that the court is unable to facilitate the most basic of evidence, such as video and audio recordings, while the jury facilities are completely unacceptable.
“The building, grand as it is, is not fit for purpose - as such I am very pleased that the motion was unanimously passed and that the council will lobby for investment to either build a new justice centre or bring the existing facilities up to scratch.”
Cllr Dave Norman, cabinet member for public protection, parking and libraries at Gloucestershire County Council said: “The Crown Court is an integral part of the criminal justice system in the county, used for the most serious cases, and so it’s vital that its facilities are truly fit for purpose. It’s right that we seek to have the best possible facilities for the county.”
Cllr Lesley Williams, leader of the Labour Group said “I’m pleased that we are taking steps to address the facilities at the Crown Court. It’s clear that they need to be brought up to date and that is why we are asking the Justice Secretary to invest in it.”
Cllr Rachel Smith, leader of the Green Group said “The Crown Court is a fantastic building but sadly the facilities there are outdated. We are fully supportive of the proposal to write to the Justice Secretary to request a new build or the refurbishment it deserves.”