NEW figures show that the percentage of cases dealt with by Jedburgh Sheriff Court within the Scottish Government’s 26 week target is wildly inconsistent and has fallen in recent months.

The figures, provided via a Freedom of Information request by John Lamont MSP, show that in the latest statistics available, Jedburgh Sheriff Court dealt with only 57% of cases within the target. This is compared to 79% of cases dealt with on time in 2008 and 75% in 2013.

The figures clearly illustrate that Jedburgh Sheriff Court is struggling to cope due to under resourcing and seriously calls into question the decision to close Duns court and transfer its business to Jedburgh at the end of the month.

The SNP started closing courts last year despite strong opposition from John Lamont MSP, who argued the closures would lead to a growing backlog of cases across the country.

Mr Lamont said: “These new figures show the delays at Jedburgh are just getting worse. The court seems to be struggling to cope and this is before it takes on extra work from nearby Duns, due to close at the end of January.

“Delays to justice are a disservice to victims of crime, but when the accused is found to be innocent, they are also a waste of money.

“The SNP pushed through court closures, despite all the evidence suggesting it would harm access to justice and put pressure on our already struggling courts.” He added: “Just a few weeks before the planned closure of Duns Sheriff Court, the court which is meant to take on extra business is failing to meet its target in just under half the cases.

"It is not too late for the Scottish Government to intervene and reverse the disastrous decision to close Duns.”