Top judge calls for an end to 'snail justice'

PUBLISHED: 10:40 25 June 2009 | UPDATED: 23:45 15 June 2010

The Westcountry s top judge has called for an end to snail justice . At Exeter Crown Court,

The Westcountry's top judge has called for an end to "snail justice".

At Exeter Crown Court, Judge Graham Cottle said the length of time it was taking to bring cases to sentence or trial was "unreasonable" and "nonsense".

Some cases are taking over a year and more from the time the defendant is arrested to when he or she is finally dealt with.

"There has to be swifter resolution of cases and an end to snail justice-and that is what is going to happen," said Judge Cottle.

He was dealing with a robbery case where the offence was committed in April and the defendant was sentenced yesterday (Wednesday).

"People wanting to be dealt with should not have to wait for a ridiculous length of time. Their cases should be heard at the earliest opportunity," said Judge Cottle. "Recent cases have shown there is a need to return to fast tracking of preliminary hearings so those wishing to plead guilty can do so and be dealt with."

Judge Cottle's latest call to speed up the justice system follow his offer last year of a "summer sale" of sentencing for those who pleaded guilty early on rather than on the day of trial.

Then the judge said significant discounts would be given for guilty pleas and had now said additional credit would be given for such pleas entered at the first opportunity.

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