England: Plans for ‘automatic online convictions’ under fire

England: Plans for 'automatic online convictions' under fire

Plans to offer “automatic online convictions” to people charged with minor offences will lead to “trigger-happy justice”, campaigners have said.

The UK government’s controversial Judicial Review and Courts Bill, which returns to the Commons floor today, will allow for people charged with minor offences to submit their plea online and receive an immediate penalty.

However, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has raised concerns that the new system could disadvantage disabled people who could find technology more difficult to navigate.

Penelope Gibbs, founder and director of Transform Justice, told The Telegraph: “The new online criminal court will bring in ‘trigger happy’ justice. Or no justice at all.

“Over-confident, computer-savvy people will be able to incriminate themselves within seconds of getting online, while others will be convicted and fined without ever pleading guilty or not guilty. It’s a recipe for reducing confidence in the criminal justice system.”

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice said: “Our reforms will speed up justice and save £5 million per year – with this money pumped straight back into tackling the backlog.

“Non-imprisonable offences only will be completed online and anyone who wants to have their case heard in court will be allowed to.”

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