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Thursday, 02 October 2014

Barrow police standing by no cuffs decision

BARROW police are standing by their decision to allow a violent criminal to sit unrestrained in the public foyer of a courthouse – despite a top justice system agency conceding it was a breach of protocol.

Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service, which is responsible for the administration of all criminal, civil and family courts in England and Wales, was alerted to the security scare over the weekend.

An HMCTS spokeswoman told the Evening Mail it would not proceed with a formal complaint against the police, but instead work with them to ensure such an event was not repeated.

“HMCTS will be working closely with Barrow police to ensure established protocols for bringing prisoners to court are followed in the future,” a spokeswoman said.

The incident occurred on Saturday morning when convicted criminal Wayne McCormack, 24, of Low White Court, Barrow, arrived at Furness Magistrates’ Court where he was due to face charges of attacking and robbing a man who interrupted him breaking into a Hartington Street pharmacy.

McCormack, who would later plead guilty to three charges, was led by a single officer from a police van parked in Abbey Road through the front door of the courthouse without any handcuffs on.

The decision to take the prisoner through the front because of his “mobility issues” outraged the court’s staff, who were concerned for both their own safety and the well-being of members of the public.

A police statement said: “We acknowledge that, due to a defendant’s injuries, officers were not able to follow standard procedures for escorting a person under police custody into court. The defendant needed crutches but was unable to use them due to his violent behaviour. A risk assessment was carried out and due to his mobility issues, he was unable to be handcuffed and was unable to use the entrance designated for people detained in custody for court.

“A police officer escorted him into court and remained with him at all times.

“We have been in contact with the court to discuss this incident and future access into the court for defendants with mobility issues.

“We will continue to work closely with them to ensure the safety of defendants and the public and, following their advice, will consider taking detained people with mobility issues to Kendal court in the future.”

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