A JUDGE has hit out at Government cuts to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), warning that underfunding will lead to miscarriages of justice.

The judge, Simon Newell, who regularly sits at Burnley and Preston Crown Courts, was speaking after the sentencing of dangerous driver Jonathan Crook at Burnley Crown Court.

Crook, of Hyndburn Road, Church, admitted being involved in a high speed chase through Altham, Clayton-Le-Moors and Accrington on March 9, this year.

The 21-year-old’s sentencing hearing was adjourned several times because the right evidence was not made available to Judge Newell by the CPS to allow him to pass sentence.

Judge Newell said: “There are many examples in this court on a day-to-day basis where the CPS are unable to carry out their professional duties.

“They are best endeavouring to work with a broken machine, it is not their fault.

“If the Government continue with their underfunding, there will be manifest injustices.”

The CPS has been forced to reduce its budget by 27 per cent in real terms by 2014-2015.

This has led to staffing cuts, seeing reductions in the number of barristers, solicitors, and witness care officers and managers.

At crown courts across England and Wales there has been a rise in the number of trials failing due to basic administrative errors. Cases over-running, judges being unavailable and failures with equipment or accommodation have led to costly delays.

Blackburn MP and former Home Secretary Jack Straw backed Judge Newell’s comments.

He said: “Traditionally, the Conservatives were the party of law and order. However, since 2010, and by carelessness not design, they have made life easier for the criminal and harder for the law-abiding.

“Police numbers have been slashed, prison budgets reduced, and the CPS finances cut to the bone. I am not surprised by Judge Newell’s observations. If this goes on we’ll end with a perfect storm in the criminal justice system.”

A spokeswoman for the CPS said she was unable to comment on Judge Newell’s remarks.