I can reveal that the number of jury trials in Kirkcaldy have almost doubled in the past 5 years and that is why I have reiterated my calls for a new, state of the art, Justice Centre in the town.
Statistics released to me have revealed the strain been felt by the current court. In the past 5 years, the total number of trails called has increased from 1,196 to 2,060, amongst those the number of jury trails called have increased by almost 100%.
At the same time, there has been a 55% increase in the number of trails adjourned, a quarter of which were adjourned due to a lack of court time in the past year. This is despite an increase in the number of days the court has sat.
In 2012 a consultation document from the Scottish Court Services that led to the closure of local courts across Scotland highlighted the need for change in Kirkcaldy.Read the article on the Courier website
The report highlighted the “strength of comments” that “Kirkcaldy would be a more appropriate location for a sheriff and jury centre serving East Fife.” The report, however, continued to say that such a centre was not immediately feasible due to the “difficulty…that the accommodation available at Kirkcaldy is not of the standard we would wish.”
The case for a new, state of the art, justice centre in Kirkcaldy gets stronger with each and every passing year. As the Scottish Court Service accepted, Kirkcaldy is the best place for such a centre in the east Fife region.
Currently Kirkcaldy and the surrounding area is being served by a court deemed not fit for purpose. As the stats revealed to me show, the problems facing the court have gotten worse since 2012, not better.
Jury trials have doubled, the number of adjournments due to lack of court time have increased and this is all despite the number of days the court has sat also increasing. This shows just how much of a strain the current court in under in Kirkcaldy.
Last year the Scottish Government announced backing for a £23million justice centre in Inverness that will replace the existing Inverness Sheriff Court.
The public want to see justice, delivered locally, with victims and their families fully supported and protected during the legal process. The case can no longer be denied by the Scottish Government. They must now bring forward plans for a new Justice Centre in Kirkcaldy.