[ Sutton Magistrates’ Court, in Wallington – click on any of the pictures on this site to see them full size ]
“The certainty of justice and the visibility of justice is eroded if justice is not sufficiently local.”
This was the message given by Councillor Richard Clifton, in his maiden speech since being elected to Sutton Council, on 6 December, when he called on the Ministry of Justice to re-think the proposal it has recently floated to close the only Magistrates’ Court House in Sutton, in Wallington.
Councillor Clifton stressed that important decisions that affect redress, justice and even people’s liberty will be taken on the basis of poorer evidence if people – including the victims of crime and witnesses to crime – are deterred from attending Court by the distance they have to travel.
He stressed two particular consequences:
– cases are lost because key witnesses do not show up
– magistrates from Sutton have a detailed and personal knowledge of the pertinent local issues, helpful in understanding a case such as a road traffic case, and this will be lost.
He was responding to a challenge by Tory Councillors to justify a statement in a motion presented to Council by Liberal Democrat Councillors, that the proposed closure would have an “inevitably damaging effect.” The motion was eventually carried unanimously.
However, despite forceful lobbying and representations by local groups, the Ministry of Justice has now announced the planned closure of the Court house. Councillor Clifton said “I called for the campaign to continue as I felt the arguments were on our side. I am disappointed that the campaign has not come to a successful conclusion.”
Councillor Heather Honour has congratulated Sergeant Dave Williams and the members of the Sutton South Safer Neighbourhoods Team after an amazing police coup, uncovering a cannabis factory in an empty office building in Sutton South Ward, Sutherland House.
Writing to Sergeant Williams, she said “Congratulations to you and your team on the discovery of the cannabis factory in Sutherland House. What a very positive story for Sutton South Safer Neighbourhoods Team!”
Police uncovered one of the biggest cannabis factories ever found in Sutton Borough. The cannabis factory was over four floors of the disused office building at Sutherland House, Brighton Road, Sutton – just a few yards from Sutton train station.
Officers estimate the 6th to 9th floors of the building contained around 3,000 plants. Two of the floors contained plants three feet high that were within days of being harvested. The other floors contained a nursery, a drying room and living accommodation for two people complete with beds.
The cannabis factory was discovered after an electrician had been called to carry out some electrical work by the building’s management company. The electrician became suspicious and alerted a Police Community Support Officer, who was on patrol near the building at the time. Officers forced entry to the top floors and were astounded by what they found.
Forensics experts were called in to gather initial evidence and to take photographs whilst the police helicopter circled overhead in case the suspects were on the roof of the building. Sergeant Dave Williams, of Sutton South Safer Neighbourhoods Team, said: “It’s the biggest find I have ever had.”
Sutherland House, where the cannabis factory was found, yards from Sutton rallway station.
Sutton police station, the base for the Sutton South Safer Neighbourhoods Team.