A former magistrate says he is “livid” at plans to close Grantham Magistrates’ Court, which he feels would likely lead to miscarriages of justice.
Coun Christopher Brewis, who chairs the Community and Public Safety Committee at Lincolnshire County Council, said members were unanimous on their opposition to Government proposals to close Grantham and Skegness magistrates courts at a committee meeting on Wednesday.
He said: “This will make access to justice very difficult for witnesses and victims as well as the miscreants. I am absolutely livid about it.”
Coun Brewis, who represents Suton Elloe in the south of the county, said he was concerned about the long distances people will have to travel if court business is moved to Lincoln. He suggested that if the courts are closed that ‘medieval’ rules should be scrapped and those in the south of the county should be dealt with at nearer courts in, for example, Peterborough. He said people in his area faced a 108-mile round trip if they had to travel to Lincoln.
Another member of the committee, Coun Ray Wootten, who represents Grantham North, said: “The proposal to close Grantham Magistrates’ Court is a backward step, with the population expected to grow to 60,000 by 2020. We need to retain our court facilities to provide local justice for local people. I fear that these proposals will lead to defendants failing to appear at court putting an extra burden on police resources, adding to time and travel costs for witnesses, police, solicitors, magistrates and their staff.”
Coun Brewis is compiling a report on the concerns of members which will be sent to MPs and other figures, outlining their opposition.