Justice Speeds Up As Witnesses In Wales Get Faster Court Updates

A new award-winning computer system that gets court information to victims, witnesses of crime and crime fighters much quicker has been launched in Wales. XHIBIT enables court users such as the police, prosecutors and witness groups to obtain necessary case details in minutes rather than days.

The £20m system, being rolled out across England and Wales, can update individual court users on the progress of a case via criminal justice agencies; these messages are sent either by text, email, or pager.

Information on court cases in English and Welsh can be seen online and on public display screens at the eight Crown courts in Wales at Mold, Caernarfon and Dolgellau, Swansea St Helens and Guildhall, Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil and Newport.

Constitutional Affairs Minister Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC MP said: “Attending court can be stressful at the best of times. With XHIBIT, witnesses can now be more in touch with their case using the latest technology.

“There will be local benefits too, as police officers will spend less time waiting at court to give evidence, and more time policing the streets.

“This technology is part of the Government’s drive to further bring the court system into the 21st Century. It all adds up to a better deal for victims and witnesses in the court process.” {mospagebreak}

XHIBIT provides case information to magistrates’ courts, Witness Service, Victim Support, the police, the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) and the Crown Prosecution Service. The Police National Computer (PNC) can be updated much faster and orders made by the court can be processed more quickly from this information.

Alan Davies, South Wales Area Director for Her Majesty’s Courts Service (HMCS), said: “The new system can provide criminal justice agencies in Wales with faster court information to all interested parties using Internet technology. It will eventually make the delivery of justice more transparent and more efficient.

Paul Shea, the PNC Services Manager for North Wales Police, said: “The XHIBIT system is a step forward and continues to enhance the already good working relationships we have with the Crown court offices, and will ensure the timely notification to police of Crown court results and bail conditions to which Persons may subjected. The system will also allow the police service in North Wales to ensure that venerable witnesses are kept up to date with the progression of cases.”

XHIBIT is the first system to run on the new LINK infrastructure introduced by Her Majesty’s Court Service in 2002 to provide court staff and the Judiciary in criminal and combined courts with modern 21st Century technology.