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Call for "vital" improvements to Royal Court

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Wednesday 03 August 2016

Call for "vital" improvements to Royal Court

Wednesday 03 August 2016

A group looking at the Island’s legal set up says in the interests of justice, it’s “vital” improvements are made to the buildings in which the Royal Court sits.

The Royal Court hears the most serious crimes and usually meets in the States’ complex on the Royal Square, or very occasionally in the Magistrate’s Court building next to Cyril Le Marquand House.

In its third interim report, the Access to Justice Advisory Panel says there are many problems with the old Royal Square building. These include poor acoustics; restricted space; close proximity of dock and jury; the need for continual assembling and disassembling for temporary use as a court depending on room availability; a shortage of witness facilities and break-out rooms; and constraints arising from its listed status.

According to submissions made to the panel, “...facilities in the Royal Court building… are inadequate from a consumer perspective.” The panel concluded it was “concerned by the difficulties presented by the constraints of the facilities”, and was worried it might be hampering “access to justice for ordinary, and often vulnerable, citizens.”

By contrast, the panel thought facilities in the modern Magistrate’s Court building were excellent and did not suffer from the same short-comings as the Royal Court building, particularly in view of the facilities available for criminal trials.

From a security perspective, the panel says it makes sense to hold more Royal Court sittings in the Magistrate’s building. In the Magistrate’s complex, the prison van is driven through gates into a secure compound and the prisoners are securely taken to the court. When prisoners are taken to the Royal Court building the van has to park on the pavement in Hill Street and the prisoners ushered from the van into court through a side door.

Also in the Magistrate’s Court the accused are sat behind protective glass. In the Royal Court they are in an open dock.

The problem though with using the Magistrate’s Court is the size of the courts. They are small, and were not designed to accommodate jury trials. The panel believes some modification could be made to enable them to be used more frequently by the Royal Court, and hopes that will happen.

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Posted by Trevor Carre on
If not fit for purpose then the building should be demolished - is that not the States way! Then Dandara could be employed to rebuild for £50m at the tax payers expense. Problem solved!
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