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Crime

Crown Court backlog at a record high, Victims’ Commissioner warns

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THE VICTIMS’ Commissioner for England and Wales, Baroness Newlove, has voiced profound concern over the escalating backlog of cases in the Crown Court, which has surged to a record 67,573 outstanding cases. This latest figure not only signifies a 1% increase from the previous quarter but also marks a staggering 65% rise from pre-pandemic levels and a near double increase since June 2019.

Baroness Newlove, reflecting on the dire statistics, emphasized the intolerable delays victims are facing, often stretching to years, before their cases are heard in court. With 27% of all outstanding cases now pending for over a year, the situation has reached a critical point, resulting in unprecedented strain on victims and the frontline services supporting them.

The duration from the receipt to the completion of cases at the Crown Court remains significantly above pre-pandemic figures, showcasing an 82% increase from the end of March 2020 and an 84% rise from the end of June 2019. Specifically troubling is the average completion time for rape cases, which now stands at 393 days, surpassing all previous records and highlighting a 52% increase from before the pandemic.

The Victims’ Commissioner pointed out the growing burden on victim services and the potential for increasing numbers of victims to withdraw from the process due to prolonged wait times. The statistics reveal a 14% victim withdrawal rate post-charge in the latest quarter, coupled with 26% of cases being adjourned on the day of trial, further exacerbating the challenges faced by those seeking justice.

Baroness Newlove criticized the apparent systemic issues within the judicial process, noting that despite a 4% decrease in new case volumes, the backlog continues to rise, with completed cases also experiencing a decline. This situation underscores the critical need for systemic reforms to address the inefficiencies plaguing the court system, ensuring that victims do not continue to suffer from prolonged delays in obtaining justice.

As the Crown Court backlog hits another record high, the call for urgent action to alleviate the pressure on victims and the judicial system has never been more pressing, with justice delayed increasingly equating to justice denied.

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Crime

Brian Davis: Wanted on suspicion of commercial burglary

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POLICE are appealing for information to find Brian Davis, from the Pembroke Dock area.
The 53-year-old is wanted on suspicion of commercial burglary and fail to appear at court.
Have you seen Brian, or do you have information that might help us find him? Please, let the police know:
🖥️ | https://orlo.uk/wr13X
📧 | [email protected]
💬 | Direct message us on social media
📞 | 101
Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.
Quote reference: BRC818624

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Crime

Recycling company brought before Judge after JCB crushes employee

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A PEMBROKESHIRE-BASED recycling company has been brought before a district judge after an employee was seriously injured by a JCB loading shovel.

TBS Recycling and Skip Hire appeared before Judge Mark Layton at Haverfordwest magistrates court earlier this week when company director, Steven Thomas, pleaded guilty to failing to discharge general health, safety and welfare duties to an employee.

The incident occurred on March 31, 2021, at the TBS recycling and skip hire unit which is situated at the Waterston Industrial Estate, between Neyland and Milford Haven.

“An employee of the company was working on the site when he spotted something caught in the wheel of a four-ton JCB,” commented a lawyer for the Health and Safety Executive.

“He went to clear it and the person who was in the [JCB] driving seat knew he was doing it. But he was distracted and believed the other employee had left. So he lowered the shovel, but it crushed him.”

As a result, the employee sustained crushed ribs and damage to his lungs and breathing.

“But he’s since made a good recovery,” said the Health and Safety Executive lawyer.

Steven Thomas, of Cross Farm, Walwyns Castle Road, Ties Cross, will be sentenced by Judge Layton when he sits at Llanelli Magistrates Court on June 6.

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Crime

Pembrokeshire car salesman caught driving on cocaine

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A PEMBROKESHIRE car salesman has appeared before a District Judge after being caught driving a cream BMW through Kilgetty after taking cocaine.

Fraser Finlay was stopped by police officers on the night of October 3, 2023, as he drove the vehicle along Clayford Road in Wooden.

The officers’ suspicions had been aroused when the trade insurance which covered his vehicle failed to show up on their system.

A roadside breath test was carried out which proved positive and Finlay, 25, was conveyed to a police custody suite where further blood tests were carried out for analysis.

These showed he had 20ug/L of cocaine in his system; the legal threshold limit is 10. He was also found to have 800 ug/L of the cocaine derivative benzoylecgonine in his system; the legal limit is 50.

“This conviction means that my client is most likely to see an end to his job,” his solicitor, David Williams, informed District Judge Mark Layton sitting at Haverfordwest magistrates court earlier this week.

“This is because he works as a car salesman.”

Finlay was disqualified from driving for 17 months. He was fined £450 and ordered to pay a £180 court surcharge and £85 costs.

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