Court proposal ‘short sighted madness’, says retired Rothesay sergeant

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A recently-retired Rothesay police officer says proposals to close the town’s sheriff court and transfer all Bute civil and criminal business to Greenock are “short-sighted madness”.

The Scottish Courts Service wants to shut the doors of the Rothesay court during the 2013-14 financial year in a move which would reduce the organisation’s spending by just £6,000.

But Rothesay resident Gary Steele, who retired earlier this year after 30 years’ police service, 22 of them spent on Bute, said the proposed saving paled into insignificance compared to the increased costs which would result.

“The indicated savings here are a pen-pusher’s excuse and tiny compared to the financial costs to local witnesses, lawyers, police and even offenders,” Mr Steele says in a letter to be published in this week’s Buteman.

“There is a very real danger that a witness who has one or two stressful, wasted day trips to Greenock, only to see the offender laugh his way back out of court, is a lot less likely to want to go through that process again.”

* Read Mr Steele’s letter in full in the new issue of The Buteman - on sale from October 11.