End of an era as Rothesay Sheriff Court sits for last time

The interior of Rothesay Sheriff Court, held at Argyll and Bute Council's Eaglesham House premises since 2005. The court sat for the final time on Monday, November 18.
The interior of Rothesay Sheriff Court, held at Argyll and Bute Council's Eaglesham House premises since 2005. The court sat for the final time on Monday, November 18.

Rothesay Sheriff Court sat for the final time on Monday - when the presiding sheriff spoke of her “regret, resignation and sadness” at the end of the administration of justice on Bute.

Sheriff Ruth Anderson gave a short address, after the day’s business was dealt with, to an audience including solicitors, court officials and former Rothesay sheriff John Herald, who returned after his retiral last year to see the final few cases in the life of the court before all Bute civil and criminal business is moved to the mainland.

Sheriff Anderson said: “I am reminded of Oscar Wilde’s description of ‘the man who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing’. Community access to local justice is a right which holds a value both intrinsic and beyond any calculation of mere pounds and pence.

“But it is with great regret, resignation and sadness that I announce this court will now adjourn for lunch, and will not sit again.”

The Scottish Courts Service’s proposal to close the court - with a projected annual saving to the SCS of just £6,000 - and have all Bute cases heard in Greenock was endorsed by the Scottish Parliament’s justice committee in June, despite widespread concerns over the community’s access to justice and the likely financial impact on other public agencies.

* We’ll print Sheriff Anderson’s valedictory address in full in this week’s issue of The Buteman - on sale from Thursday, November 21.