First cases prosecuted at Bristol Magistrates' courts using a tablet computer

20/02/2012

The first cases in the South West to be prosecuted electronically using a tablet computer were presented today at Bristol Magistrates' court. Up until now, all criminal cases have been prosecuted using heavy, paper-based files.

Over the next 18 months, the Crown Prosecution Service in the South West is aiming to become almost entirely digital. This dramatic move shows our commitment to cutting down on bureaucracy and old-fashioned, ineffective ways of working.

Working digitally means that the whole criminal justice process can be speeded up substantially, resulting in fewer adjournments and shorter trials.

Senior Crown Prosecutor Peter Smith prosecuted 12 cases today in court using the tablet device. Commenting on the move to digital working, Peter said: "Prosecuting a case using a tablet computer means we can present cases to the courts much more quickly and efficiently than by relying on thick, heavy files full of paper-based evidence and information.

"Locally, we are working very closely with our criminal justice partners, such as the police and the courts, to make this important change.  We are receiving support from the other Criminal Justice agencies including judges, magistrates and local defence lawyers who can see the benefits of digital working.

"We are already routinely exchanging information electronically with the police and are beginning to do so with the courts and the defence. The amount of printing and photo-copying will be significantly reduced, which will save money.

"Ultimately these changes will enable us to work in a more modern and efficient way so that we can continue to provide our communities with a high quality prosecution service."