MAGISTRATES vented their frustration at the delay in one youth court case – saying they would be taking the matter up with police.

Chairman of the bench David Barrand spoke out after hearing that one case, which involved a rogue moped rider who despite being just 17 has been slashed with a machete and run over by a van driver, had taken more than half a year to reach Swindon Youth Court.

He said: “We are having an ongoing conversation with Wiltshire Police on it and have had for a little while.

“It’s not very satisfactory.”

The eight month delay in the case was labelled disappointing. The boy’s solicitor, Emma Thacker, told JPs: “If I was to say that every time I was in court about the length of time it had taken to get to court especially for youths I think everyone would be fed up.”

She said her client, who was spotted by PCSOs topless and weaving between parked cars in Parks last July before crashing the motorbike, had made good use of the delay. He had been diagnosed with ADHD and was working well with the youth offending team. The boy had been dealt with for other matters since being arrested for driving the motorcycle while disqualified and without insurance.

Magistrates fined him £40 and imposed a 12 month roads ban. Mr Barrand said: “In our opinion these offences could have been rolled into the other cases you had to deal with in court over the last few months.”

Ministry of Justice data shows it took the average young offender in the Wiltshire local justice area 151 days from committing their offence to the final decision at court in 2018-19.

Across England and Wales the average case time hit 154 days – the longest since national records began in 2010-11.

John Bache, chairman of the Magistrates Association, has called for more investment in the criminal justice system: “Delays in any part of the justice system are a cause for concern, but particularly in youth justice where they have an especially damaging impact on vulnerable children, young people and victims.”

The Youth Court Bench Book – the bible by which the juvenile courts operate – emphasise the importance of swift justice. “The principal aim of the youth justice system is to prevent children and young people offending. This key objective of the legislation is more likely to be achieved if cases are swiftly administered, so that every child or young person accused of breaking the law has the matter concluded without delay.”

Angus Macpherson, police and crime commissioner, said: “There is a saying that ‘justice delayed is justice denied’ and one I fully support.

“The justice system has many partners - Crown Prosecution Service, HMCTS, the police, and forensic services to name just a few and one cannot, without review, lay any blame of the unacceptable delay with the police. I will ensure that, as chairman of the Wiltshire Criminal Justice Board, this case is looked at in detail and lessons learnt by the agency concerned.”