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Dunoon Observer and Argyllshire Standard Dunoon Observer and Argyllshire Standard
Home News The News CHANGES TO CUSTODIES AT DUNOON

CHANGES TO CUSTODIES AT DUNOON

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From this week custodies will no longer automatically appear at Dunoon’s Sheriff Court or Justice of the Peace Court after arrest but will have to travel to Greenock or even Paisley.

 

A spokesman for the Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service said: “From December 1 custodies from Dunoon will be transferred on non-court sitting days to Greenock and Justice of the Peace custodies will transfer to Paisley on non-Justice of the Peace court sitting days.

“This alters the current arrangement and follows consultations with local Justice Partners in both Dunoon and Greenock.  It will apply to very low numbers of custodies and will balance the need to maintain access to justice while ensuring the most efficient use of public resources.”

However, a person familiar with the court system, told the Standard that: “We were told it was happening rather than consulted about it.”

They went on to raise concerns about what might happen to individuals. “Hypothetically someone from Lochgilphead on a speeding charge, who hadn’t changed their address, could have a warrant for their arrest issued and end up in court in Paisley.”

They added: “It’s frequently the case that these custodies are people who are without money or means and could end up a long way from home.

“There is a presumption of innocence in the legal system but these are people who could be greatly inconvenienced by this  new arrangement.”

While they acknowledged that there could be savings for the procurator fiscal service they suggested that  G4S, the organisation that moves prisoners between police custody and the courts, could, potentially, have more work to do.

They posed the question: “Is this the thin end of the wedge – the start of the erosion - for Dunoon’s court?”

We understand that custodies on Mondays and Thursdays  for the Sheriff Court will be taken to Dunoon, on other days they would go to Greenock, and that Justice of the Peace custodies would go to Greenock on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays and to Paisley on Tuesdays and Wednesdays unless there is a court sitting at Dunoon.

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