MacAskill under fire over court closure

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JUSTICE Secretary Kenny MacAskill came under fire today for announcing the closure of Haddington Sheriff Court – just three days after promising to consider the case for keeping it open.

East Lothian Labour MSP Iain Gray said he had raised the court’s future with Mr MacAskill in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday after the Scottish Courts Service review recommended it should shut along with nine others.

Mr Gray said: “I made the point that for Haddington there were 150 substantial submissions on the closure and thousands of postcards in support of the court staying open.

“Kenny MacAskill said he would give them full consideration, but it is clear he had no intention at all of giving them consideration. It is scandalous the extent to which my constituents’ wishes to see justice administered locally have just been ignored throughout this process.

“It really is a hammer blow to Haddington and East Lothian to take away the court. We’ve had a court of one kind or another for hundreds of years in Haddington.

“Our court survived the Reformation, the Treaty of Union and two world wars, but it’s not managed to survive Kenny MacAskill as Justice Minister. I think that’s a disgrace.”

Mr Gray said he would 
continue to fight to keep the court open.