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Courts are planning to go digital


WhiteTruckMan

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I hear that courts are planning to go digital, with documents etc available online via secure wifi.

Digital Plans

Potentially a good idea, but I am mindfull of what the road to hell is paved with. Given the UK track record when it comes to IT projects (think NHS, MoD etc, delays, cost overruns, unfit for purpose etc) is this really such a good idea?

WTM

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Aitchbee

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I have already said [on this forum in a previous post] that recordings [digital] of a trial should be made available, so that whatever was said in court, could be mulled over later by each member of the Jury.

but ... it sounds a bit like a Star Trek episode when Captain Kirk, Mr Spock and Doctor McCoy [all] got their fingers wrapped by a distant judge in a different galaxy!

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QuizMan

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I like to think that I have played a small part in this. Back at 2000/2 I was a member of a successful, award-winning IT project for the Ministry of Justice (not all IT government projects fail!) to cable and enable all the Crown Courts and larger County Courts. It was anticipation of announcements like this that we provided the basis on which it will all be installed. Nice to know that my work was not in vain.

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Kevscar1

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Think it's all ready started, want a transcript of wjhat the Judge said at my hearing for the Judicial review, evidently I have tp pay for a company to tye ot the audible recording. Didn't even know ther e was one thought it was being typed into a computer by the clerk

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Forum Editor

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Aitchbee

Digital transcripts (on DVD) of every word spoken in each day's court proceedings have been available for judges for years. In cases involving fraud, juries were given the right to see transcripts of trial evidence and other documents under the provisions of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001 on the instruction of the trial judge.

This measure was introduced because of the sheer complexity of some fraud cases.

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QuizMan

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This measure was introduced because of the sheer complexity of some fraud cases.

How true. Electronic presentation of evidence can shave a week or more off some complex fraud cases. The paperwork evidence is made available to all interested parties such as judge, barristers and jurors in several arch files. A barrister might ask people to refer to file #3 document 496 and the court case halts until the last person (usually the jury) has located the piece of evidence. A trained VDU operator can have the same document on a large TV screen in a matter of seconds.

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WhiteTruckMan

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All very well, but not the purpose of my starting this thread. It seems to be implied (I have no personal knowledge of the subject) that courts are going to be networked, with a wider (secured) access that was previously possible. My point is, no matter how good an idea this may seem, will the implementation turn out to be an expensive failure as so many other (highly expensive )government IT projects?

WTM

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QuizMan

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WTM - to a certain extent there is already networking in place especially at magistrates' courts level with other agencies such as police, TV licensing and CPS able to enter cases onto the courts' system. I should know. I was part of that project too.

That's the problem with Government projects; it's the ones that go wrong that we, the public, get to hear about.

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Forum Editor

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"It seems to be implied (I have no personal knowledge of the subject) that courts are going to be networked, with a wider (secured) access that was previously possible."

The plan is to have:-

Wifi in the majority of courts, so the prosecution, defence, judiciary and court staff can access all necessary court documents at the touch of a button and also access office systems from the courtroom, helping to prevent adjournments caused by missing information.

Digital Evidence Screens so the defence and prosecution can present evidence digitally rather than relying on paper copies which can cause huge delays if lost or misplaced. The screens also allow CCTV footage and other video and audio evidence to be presented easily in court.

New Court Presentation and Collaboration Software allowing prosecution, defence, and judiciary to navigate complex Crown court cases with ease; and New funding for IT where needed, to increase digital workings and reduce the use of paper in the system by the police and court system.

At the moment the courts and the Crown Prosecution service use approximately 160 million documents each year in the process of prosecuting and hearing cases. It's believed that a huge number of these pieces of paper can be rendered unnecessary if digital information sharing is introduced, and large amounts of expensive time can be saved.

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