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Last Updated: Monday, 13 June, 2005, 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK
Justice more accessible, says DPP
Northern Ireland's new prosecution service will make justice more accessible, the Director of Public Prosecutions has said.

Sir Alasdair Fraser rejected claims that the new service could increase bureaucracy.

He also defended the time taken for complex cases to work their way through the legal system.

Sir Alasdair said the service would employ 165 lawyers, but would not place an extra burden on the taxpayer.

BBC Northern Ireland political editor Mark Devenport said: "The government said the changes it is ushering in, so far as the courts are concerned, are just as significant as those it has already made to policing.

"The new Public Prosecution Service will take over prosecuting cases in lower courts where the police have previously handled their own cases, as well as inheriting the work in the higher courts previously carried out by the Director of Public Prosecutions."

Police savings

Dismissing claims that the new service would mean increased expense, the Director of Public Prosecutions said: "There won't be more bureaucracy.

"The lawyers are paid in accordance with standard civil service rates and, of course, there are savings to police.

"There is a cadre of senior police officers who were prosecuting but will now be available to the chief constable," he said.

Attorney General Lord Goldsmith travelled to Northern Ireland for the launch of the new service on Monday

Lord Goldsmith said people should "look forward to the end of no-jury Diplock courts in the future," but for now the government was intent on building a justice system in which everyone could feel confidence.

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