Blame delay ‘on the buses’
The prison boss did not turn up; his Chief Officer did.
And the official told the high court yesterday the reason prisoners have been late in getting to court was an aging transport fleet.
Chief Officer Philip Walters, of Her Majesty’s Prisons Dodds, took the stand in the stead of Prison Superintendent Lieutenant Colonel John Nurse, who had been called to court to explain the persistent late arrival of prisoners.
Justice Maureen Crane-Scott, who presides in the No. 5 Supreme Court, told Walters the tardiness had been delaying the nine o’clock start when the trial involved someone on remand; bail hearings had been affected and that the problem extended to the Magistrates’ Courts as well.
“Our problem,” Walters said, “was an aging prison bus fleet.”
Usually, he added, HMP Dodds had six buses – three large and three small – at its disposal.
But currently, the fleet was down to three – two large and one small. The small buses, which can only hold seven people, were used to transport prisoners to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) and other places.