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Councillor brands sheriff court protest pathetic

Jim Hume MSP & Willie Rennie (Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats) protesting outside Selkirk Sheriff Court with other supporters.

Jim Hume MSP & Willie Rennie (Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats) protesting outside Selkirk Sheriff Court with other supporters.

Local MSP Jim Hume, with his Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie, on Monday led a protest against the possible closure of Selkirk Sheriff Court.

The group of eight gathered outside the building carrying placards which read Save Selkirk Court.

Mr Hume explained: “The Scottish Court Service is looking at the possibility of closing Selkirk and Jedburgh courts. The consultation is out at the moment – but it’s not public, it’s private. They say it’ll be late spring or early summer when they make a decision, so now’s the time to influence it.”

He added: “Constituents have contacted me in their droves about fears for access to local justice. Those same people talk about their local towns being raided of yet another key facility, hot on the heels of police counters and control rooms.”

Mr Rennie said SNP justice minister Kenny MacAskill’s “obsession with centralisation is out of control”.

An alternative option in the cost-saving reforms, proposed by justice committee chairperson Christine Grahame, is a new justice centre in Galashiels.

At Monday’s community council, councillors were sympathetic, but sceptical, about the 20-minute protest.

Michelle Ballantyne questioned the location when, she believed, court officials likely agreed.

Noting few, if any, Souters around the table were told of it, Gordon Edgar said: “It just makes it look pathetic.”

 

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