Closing Chichester courts could lead to ‘no proper justice’

David Bathurst pictured in 2012 when he left Chichester Magistrates' Court
David Bathurst pictured in 2012 when he left Chichester Magistrates' Court

A FAMILIAR face at Chichester Magistrates’ Court said he was ‘sad’ to hear of proposals to close the city’s court houses.

David Bathurst now works as a defence barrister but was previously senior legal advisor at Chichester Magistrates’ Court.

“I think from a personal point of view, I started work in the magistrates’ court in 1988 but some of my colleagues who were there then had been working at the court since the court house opened in, I think, 1977.”

He stayed until 2012 and said the closure of the court could impact on witnesses, with trials having to 
be relocated around the county.

“If someone in Chichester or perhaps Selsey or Midhurst witnesses a crime and they have to go to court to give evidence about that they’re going to have to travel further,” he said.

“If I’m a witness I’m not going to be particularly happy about longer travel time.

“It may in certain cases deter crime witnesses coming to court and without witnesses there’s no proper justice.”

A consultation on whether or not to close the buildings ends on October 8.

To take part in the consultation, go to www.gov.uk/government/consultations/proposal-on-the-provision-of-court-and-tribunal-estate-in-england-and-wales