30 April 2019
Defendants will now be able to appear in the Magistrate’s Court via video link from Jersey’s prison.
Extensive work has been undertaken by the States of Jersey Prison Service (SoJPS), the Magistrate’s Court and the Judicial Greffe, so that procedural and non-contentious court appearances can now be heard whilst defendants are in custody.
It is hoped that the new digital court system will speed up the resolution of cases for victims, witnesses and defendants, as well as freeing up police officers for other duties when they would otherwise be accompanying defendants to court.
The dedicated video court facility will also significantly reduce the risks associated with transporting prisoners to and from court, consequently leading to reduced commitment from court, police and prison officers, and improved public safety.
Private discussions between the defendant and their advocate can also be undertaken via video link, which will reduce the time and cost of professional legal visits with defendants in prison. The new system will also look into expanding the use of video for pre-trial meetings between a defendant and their lawyer, to create efficiencies in the legal aid system.
The Prison Governor, Nick Cameron, said: “We have been working closely with colleagues from the Magistrate’s Court, the Royal Court and the Judicial Greffe to establish the video link system. These changes will allow the justice system to modernise and maximise the use of available technology to achieve efficiencies. This is an exciting initiative, which reflects the strength of partnership between those working in the criminal justice system for Jersey.”
Court Service Chief Operating Officer, James Lambert, said: “This project has been part of a wider initiative to provide video linking facilities in all of Jersey’s courts. It is important to enable people who are not in the Island to participate in court hearings (for example, expert witnesses), it will also be of huge benefit in the future to have internal links to the Police, Customs and Immigration, and the Prison. I am pleased that this first live use of a link to the Prison has been successful.”