Crown Courts Embrace New Technology

According to this article on CNET News, ‘The Xhibit (‘eXchanging Hearing Information By Internet Technology’) system, now rolled out to 50 Crown courts in England and Wales, allows court clerks to update information about hearings as they happen.

The system enables police, prosecutors and witness groups to get case details in minutes rather than days. Updates can be received by text email or pager, and the public can follow court hearings online or via public display screens in court. …

Xhibit has an alert function that can alert police officers by SMS when they have to give evidence. Before the system was in place, only 3 percent of police time in court was actually spent giving evidence.

Constitutional Affairs Minister Harriet Harman said in a statement: ‘Attending court can be stressful at the best of times. With Xhibit witnesses can, using the latest technology, now be more in touch with the progress on their case.’ The government hopes the system will save 80,000 police days a year by reducing the amount of time wasted waiting to give evidence. …

Rollout of the system is due to be completed by April 2006.