Liam Kerr says SNP’s massive court backlog betrays crime victims

Banff Sheriff Court
Latest statistics published by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service this month show scheduled trials have increased by 38% in the last quarter.

A burgeoning backlog of criminal trials is proof the SNP is letting down victims again, local MSP Liam Kerr has said.

Latest statistics published by the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service this month show scheduled trials have increased by 38% in the last quarter.

The number of trials scheduled at the end of June was 22,437 – but had risen to 30,596 by September.

Making matters worse, over half of the court logjam is pre-pandemic.

At the end of the 2020 financial year, scheduled trials stood at around 18,000, meaning 60 per cent of the trials were still waiting to start before Covid lockdown restrictions.

Liam Kerr MSP

North East region Scottish Conservative MSP, the party’s justice spokesman, said

This huge backlog of trials continues to rise and is yet more proof of an SNP government letting down victims. An increase of nearly 40% in three months is very concerning.

The SNP cannot use the pandemic as an excuse. Figures show that even before Covid, trials were backing up. As the saying goes, justice delayed is justice denied.

The fact the justice secretary has not seen fit to take the necessary action pre-pandemic, as shown by the lack of correspondence on the issue, is unacceptable.

For far too long the SNP have treated the courts and legal profession with little respect and value. The endgame will be fewer young people going into the legal profession, which could have dire consequences for victims of crime and the legal system generally.

The Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service announced this morning that they were reducing the number of cases being heard until the end of February, to limit the number of people having to attend court during the current pandemic and restrictions.

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