01 May 2007

How to speed up terror trials

From today's Times, which reports that the recently completed terrorist trials cost over £50m:

"The trial was supposed to last six months, but began six months late and lasted for more than a year. During that year the court sat for only 35 weeks, with 7 weeks of timetabled breaks and 10 weeks lost to sickness and logistical problems. Barristers tried to have one juror discharged because he took so much time off sick. During Ramadan, the court sat for only 3½ hours each day because of concerns that the defendants would not be able to concentrate while fasting. The judge wanted to sit earlier, to make up for lost time, but one juror could not be in before 10.30am because of childcare commitments."

How about giving the court the power to allot funds to jurors to meet any reasonable expenses caused by longer sittings? How much time and money would that have saved? Only in the public sector - utter madness!

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