Court house faces a bleak future

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ONE of the busiest solicitors at Spalding Magistrates’ Court – Mike Alexander – believes the court house will be axed despite Government assurances.

The court hasn’t received prisoners for more than a month because of “health and safety concerns” about the cells and an inner staircase up to the court dock.

Mr Alexander, from law firm CDA (Criminal Defence Associates), says the court is seeing fewer defendants because remand prisoners are sent elsewhere and the Spalding sittings are also being “under listed” with some Spalding area defendants having their cases heard 30 miles away at Grantham.

The Spalding court’s fast-track justice day is Thursday.

Court 1 sits from 10am-1pm and also from 2pm to late afternoon.

For the past couple of weeks morning sessions have been over by midday – on the first Thursday there was no afternoon session and last Thursday’s session was over by 2.15pm.

Mr Alexander has often represented clients past 5pm on Thursdays.

He said: “If they are not closing it, they are doing a damn fine job of giving the appearance that they are closing it.”

Mr Alexander said things will become worse for Spalding court as Lincoln Prison is being downgraded from B to C, which means all remand prisoners will go out of county – most likely to Nottingham.

He wants to know the price of local justice – the cost of remedial work – and why the ground floor court can’t be used for prisoners.

The courts’ service declined to reveal the outcome of its health and safety inspection at Spalding or any next steps.

A spokesman said no court could close without public consultation.

South Holland and The Deepings MP John Hayes last week revealed a Government minister told him there are “currently no plans” to close Spalding court.