Two weeks to save sheriff court

Campaigners gathered ata campaign for local justice.
Campaigners gathered ata campaign for local justice.

There are two weeks left during which Stonehaven Sheriff Court can be saved, this was the message that MSP Lewis Macdonald gave this week.

At a Keep Justice Local demonstration in the town on Wednesday, the Scottish Labour Justice spokesman was joined by local Labour Councillor Alison Evison and a number of concerned locals as they united to get their message across.

Stonehaven was where they launched the Labour parties “keep justice local” campaign and Councillor Evison explained that this showed how important Stonehaven Sheriff Court was and how important it was that the town retained the service.

With two weeks until the Justice Comittee votes on the issues, Lewis Macdonald has been encouraging action from locals and claims there is still time to save the court.

One of the things he says that the community can do, is to head to Edinburgh next Tuesday to lobby outside the Scottish parliament on the day that Justice Secretary Kenny McAskill is due to give evidence at the Justice Committee.

The demonstration is being arranged by campaigners against the closure of Haddington Sheriff Court, who are asking that other campaigners join them to show the strength of feeling on the issue.

Mr Macdonald is also encouraging residents to continue writing to members of the Justice Committee with their concerns as he said at the moment it is tied and it is important to make sure the MSPs on the committee understand the strength of feeling on the issue.

Previously, Mr Macdonald arranged a meeting in the town to discuss the closures at which he also encouraged locals to contact the committee and their MSPs about the issue.

Describing the response to this as “tremendous,” he added: “I encouraged people at the public meeting to make a submission and to lobby members.

“The concerns of the community are now reaching members of the justice committee - they now know how the people of Stonehaven feel.”

He said he had two main concerns about the closure of the court - access to justice, not just with the loss of the court service but the effect this would have on local solicitors, and the police station, and the inability of Aberdeen Sheriff Court to deal with a larger workload.

Contact details for committee members can be found on the webpage of the Scottish Parliament website.