In a Parliamentary debate today, Thursday, on the closure of magistrates’ courts, Newbury MP Richard Benyon raised a number of points.
He asked the Minister to ensure that technology such as video conferencing is available for witnesses to give evidence in towns like Newbury where the court is closing, thus saving them making the journey to Reading or beyond.
He also raised the importance of the listing of cases in Reading by geographic area. He said that West Berkshire cases should, where possible, be listed on the same day. This would ensure that some parts of ‘local justice’ are maintained. Not least, this would allow local media to report convictions as well as crimes.
Later in the debate, he raised the concern that according to Ministry of Justice figures, less than 15% of the population of West Berkshire will be able to reach the court in Reading by public transport in under one hour.