HC Deb 01 May 1972 vol 836 cc29-30
36. Mr. Golding

asked the Attorney-General whether he will take steps to reduce the delays between committal and trial at Crown courts in Staffordshire.

The Attorney-General

My noble Friend is not aware of the existence of any general delay; 84 per cent. of the cases tried at Crown court centres in Staffordshire are heard within eight weeks of committal. The Circuit Administrator will always consider special cases, and my noble Friend will arrange where necessary hearings before additional judges.

Mr. Golding

Is the Attorney-General aware that it has taken several months to bring to trial one case of which I have been made aware? As it involves a teacher who has been suspended while awaiting trial, this is a very serious matter.

The Attorney-General

I appreciate that this is always a very serious matter for the individual concerned. I understand from inquiries I have made that the summons in the case was issued in January, 1972, the man was committed in March, and the trial is to take place in May.

Sir Elwyn Jones

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that a delay of eight weeks is not bad in the London area? What progress is being made to reduce the large delays in the London area?

The Attorney-General

I agree with the right lion. and learned Gentleman that the delay in this case is not too bad compared with the tremendous difficulties in London, where the pressure on the courts is immense. My noble Friend the Lord Chancellor has made provision for extra courts which have been sitting in different places which have been adapted in London, so that cases can come on for trial, and also for a large increase in the number of the judiciary. This matter very much concerns my noble Friend.