Friday 15 June 2012 by Catherine Baksi
Courts in London have been disrupted this week because of 'teething problems' with the new courier service employed to deliver Crown Prosecution Service files to court.
An executive officer of the London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association, Greg Powell, told the Gazette that prosecution files arrived late at some courts on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
A CPS spokeswoman said that the problems followed a new contract with couriers City Sprint to deliver files in London, which began on 6 June, after the previous service it used closed down.
She said: 'At the start of this week a number of files were delivered late to some courts in London. However, casework was handled on a daily basis and this temporary problem has now been resolved.'
The spokeswoman said that the issues were caused by problems with access to police stations for the couriers and general 'teething problems' experienced by City Sprint.
She said the CPS had been working with City Sprint, which already has a contract to deliver files nationally, since February to prepare it for the extension of the contract in London.
In the meantime, she said prosecutors and other CPS staff had been doing everything they could to get files to court, including taking taxis.
The CPS said that one case of assault was dismissed on Wednesday at Westminster Magistrates' Court, due in part to the fact that the file was still on its way to court. In that case, she said there were a number of other reasons why the prosecution was not ready to proceed. But she added that the defendant had already pleaded guilty to other offences, which were dealt with.
A spokesman for City Sprint said that the problems arose because the start date of the contract had been brought forward due the closure of the previous company used, which happened sooner than had been expected. He said City Sprint had worked hard to resolve all the issues, which it had now done.