THE top cop in the Highlands has admitted “a mistake” in serving trial witnesses with citations – causing delays in serious court cases.
Chief Superintendent Julian Innes was summoned to Inverness Sheriff Court after it emerged several witnesses had not been called for two separate cases.
Sheriff Margaret Neilson took the unusual step of ordering the north’s most senior policeman to explain why citations had not been served – sparking fears that the Courts and Warrants Department in Inverness was understaffed.
Appearing in court today, Ch Spt Innes told the Sheriff: “Quite simply it was a mistake on our part.
“New procedures are in place. There is a greater management oversight.
“I apologise for any inconvenience to the court. I am confident it won’t happen again”.
Sheriff Neilson responded: “I am obliged for the explanation. I am content. You can leave.”
Afterwards, Ch Spt Innes added: “Local police have made a mistake. As a result I have reviewed the process of serving citations in this area.
“I have put in a greater management oversight to ensure this does not happen again.
“I have apologised to Sheriff Neilson for any inconvenience or delay caused to the court process.”
The sheriff took the step after a number of witnesses had not been called for two separate cases last week.
They involved allegations of assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement, and abduction.
Both cases had to be delayed.
Depute fiscal Iain Smith told the court: “The Crown have a problem with the executions on six civilian wintesses by the police.
“I have been told that they have insufficient resources in the Courts and Warrants Department to send officers to execute the citations.
“I have raised this twice with my superiors and the problem continues.”