Sir, The Central Criminal Court hears some of the most serious cases in the country but for the past few weeks its ability to function has been hampered — and, on some days, trials brought to a standstill — because of staffing shortages in the cells. We are told that, on Monday, 24 custody staff were required to ensure the safe and secure movement of those on trial, but only 11 were provided. On Friday things were marginally better, with 14 provided, and on Thursday, of the 18 required, only nine were provided. The knock-on effect is dramatic and costly as trials are delayed, juries are kept waiting, witnesses are postponed and defendants are unable to see their legal teams.
Allison Summers KC & Ahmed Muen
Drystone Chambers, London WC1