It has been proposed that courts in Scotland should be open on Saturdays, primarily as a means of tackling alcohol-related crimes. Kenny MacAskill, chairing the Scottish Police Board, discussed the proposal at a recent consultation.
As reported in the Herald, the move has been welcomed by some including Les Gray, chairman of the Scottish Police Federation:
“In some cases people can be kept in a police cell from a Thursday night through to a Monday morning.
“That doesn’t suit the offender and doesn’t suit the police service because officers have to keep an eye on them.
“Anything that dispenses quicker justice, deters crime and saves money has to be welcomed.”
As it stands, the proposal may be implemented in as few as two years’ time.
Scots Law Blog’s Two Pennies:
1. If implemented, the Saturday court service proposition may backfire. As it stands, members of the public are, or ought to be, aware that if they commit a crime or become suspects for a crime they could be detained over the course of an entire weekend before they can be brought to trial. That is a deterrant, which may in turn be a deterrant to greater alcohol consumption, that may be lost if courts were open 6 days per week.
2. Lord Gill’s Review of Scottish courts does not touch on the issues of courts being open for Saturday business. Ought it to have touched upon the issue? Arguably not. Lord Gill reviewed Scottish civil courts, not criminal ones. The precise issue is detainment of suspects using up police resources over the course of a weekend without trial, something not relevant for the civil system.
Further comment to be welcomed below…