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Authority urges Justice Minister to reverse Magistrate's Court re-organisation

A second council has objected to the Ministry of Justice’s changes to court locations in the West Midlands.

Telford & Wrekin Council has urged lord chancellor David Gauke to reverse the centralisation in Kidderminster of remand cases across the West Mercia Police area.

Deputy leader Richard Overton complained to Mr Gauke that overnight remand cases from Telford & Wrekin, Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire had all been heard in Kidderminster since April but with only one van available to transport prisoners anyone who surrendered after 6pm missed that and was held overnight.

If released without charge, they then had to make their own way home in an area with sparse public transport.

Cllr Overton said: “This is not a just system and it is leading to problems for victims, witnesses, defendants, solicitors and police officers.

“I strongly urge the Lord Chancellor to reconsider the arrangements that have been put in place as it is patently ridiculous that there is no overnight remand court in a county the size of Shropshire.”.

He said that before April defendants could walk from Telford police station to the town’s magistrates’ court or be driven to Shrewsbury.

Herefordshire Council this month raised similar concerns about the move of cases to Kidderminster.

A Ministry of Justice statement said then: “Following a public consultation, remand cases were moved from Hereford to Kidderminster Magistrates’ Court to improve listings and trial management at Hereford.

“We have given key agencies and professional court users the opportunity to share their views about how these changes are working in practice and we continue to work with them and other partners to resolve any concerns raised.”

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