'Olympic Offences' To Be Fast Tracked
Crimes to be sped through courts before parties involved leave when Games conclude.
Officers policing the London 2012 Games will be able to have cases connected to the sporting event specially defined as “Olympic Offences” and fast-tracked through the courts.
The plans, which have been drawn up by a group of Criminal Justice agencies including the police, CPS and HM Court Service, are designed to prioritise cases involving non-UK residents, allowing them to be dealt with speedily before the Games conclude. The measures will apply in the capital and anywhere else where Olympic events take place. But the CPS has said that an increase in offending is not expected.
An “Olympic Offence” will be defined as a case where defendants or witnesses are spectators, event officials, athletes or staff at any Olympic facility. Crimes committed at Olympic or Paralympic facilities will also be eligible to be categorised in this way. Courts will be able to sit for longer hours, drawing on lessons learned from the disorder of last August.
A CPS statement said: “The Olympics pose some significant challenges for us in terms of the numbers of spectators and competitors arriving in the country. “We will be dealing with cases as soon as possible, aware that victims and witnesses may be visitors and unable to assist in a prosecution case some months down the line.” The statement said that courts would sit earlier – from 8.30am, and later, until 7pm. Video links would be used more to minimise the necessity to move people between courts and lawyers would be on hand around the clock to advise in cases. The CPS said extra courts could sit in London to help with the case-load if necessary.
Alison Saunders, Chief Crown Prosecutor from CPS London, told The Times newspaper in a recent interview: “Many people who come to the Olympics won’t live here, so it is important that if offences are committed, we act quickly. “People who commit offences on Tuesday will be before the court on Wednesday.”
MACKESYS ARE AVAILABLE TO HELP IN RELATION TO ANY FAST TRACKED CASES - WE WILL HAVE TRANSLATORS ON STANDBY TO ASSIST.