Shropshire victims of crime wait nearly two years for crown court cases to be concluded
Victims of crime are having to wait nearly two years for crown court cases to be concluded in Shropshire, according to Ministry of Justice figures.
The statistics, kept by the Ministry of Justice, show the level of strain on the county's legal system – and the impact on those awaiting justice.
For the second quarter of 2019 the average length of time taken from an offence to the case's completion at Shrewsbury Crown Court was 629 days.
The average time over a three year period of 2016 to 2019 was 792 days. Only behind Salisbury across the country in the length of time taken to complete cases.
There are several components in the time it takes for a case to come to court, including involvement from the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.
However, the figures come after Judge Anthony Lowe, who sits at Shrewsbury Crown Court, last week criticised the delays faced by victims, witnesses, and defendants in relation to cases being heard at the court.
Judge Lowe said people were having their lives put on hold due to the delays
Speaking at the court last week, he said: “It won’t escape anyone’s notice that there is an empty court behind me that is going to be empty for the rest of this week and will have periods between now and August when it is empty.
“We are now not allowed to have a recorder in there, whereas this time last year we would have done.”
Judge Lowe had also been critical of the system in September last year when he warned it was “breaking at every point”.
Adrian Roberts, a solicitor with Lanyon Bowdler said the situation was worsening, adding: “One case I have been dealing with this week has taken two years to get to a hearing.
“What happens is that when cases get as far as crown court they simply stagnate.”
Responding to the latest figures the government said it is making efforts to reduce the length of time it takes to get cases through the courts.
A Government spokesman said: “We are recruiting 20,000 more police officers and have also announced £85m in additional funding for the Crown Prosecution Service.
“We are working hard to reduce the time it takes for cases to go through the courts and waiting times are at their lowest in four years, despite an increasingly complex caseload including more historical offences.
“We have invested in new technology which is speeding up the process, and the number of outstanding Crown Court cases is at its lowest rate in nearly twenty years.”