asked the Attorney-General on what date the Rochester court in Kent was opened to deal with the backlog of Maidstone Crown court cases; what were the costs of this new court; how many staff are employed and at what annual costs; why it closed just after Easter; when it is likely to reopen; and whether he will make a statement.
The Crown courtroom at Rochester was opened on 7 January 1980. It is administered from Maidstone without additional staff costs. The cost of adapting existing accommodation was £68,000. The courtroom was not used after Easter as expected; this was because no verbatim shorthand writer was available, and attempts to substitute and monitor tape recording equipment were unsuccessful. Arrangements are being made to resume sitting there on 28 April.