Faye Rolfe has been interviewed by East Anglian Daily Times in response to latest news that Magistrate Courts have seen their sentencing powers increased to up to a year. The plans were first announced by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in January as part of efforts to address court backlogs which had become further exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Faye Rolfe offered opinion that the move would be counter -productive. She commented:
"Defendants are either going to decide by their own volition or be advised that they should be electing crown court trial now where previously it would have been attractive to stay in the magistrates' court because of that six-month cap on each offence. So you'll get more trials added to the backlog in the crown court and more appeals. When you appeal it goes to the crown court and that's another half day or day taken out of a judge's list to deal with deciding whether that sentence was fair. The real impact is probably going to be perverse."
Reflecting on the state of the criminal justice system and the recent "No Returns" action taken by the Criminal Bar, Faye commented that a "sensible cash injection" was needed to deal with current issues. She said:
"The backlog is not a product of the pandemic, it was growing and growing over ten years of chronic underfunding. The whole system needs a well thought through sensible cash injection that improves the working conditions of people that give a lot of time and effort into a really important job in society."
Read full interview here: [East Anglian Daily Times]