A lack of staff with technical expertise at Balearic courts is causing delays of three years or more in the preparation of reports. This particularly affects appraisals of the value of goods and assets, which are key for many criminal cases. The delays are such that some cases have to be dismissed because the statute of limitations has expired.
This is a situation which has existed for years. The Balearic High Court, in its most recent report, pointed out that staff levels were inadequate and that response time severely compromises the scheduling of court instructions.
The court reports include valuations of vehicles, jewellery and property of all kinds. They are essential for fixing the scale of crimes committed and the level of potential civil liability to be claimed from a defendant.
The problem affects all the courts - Palma, Inca, Manacor, Minorca and Ibiza. The typical delay in the past was a year, but it has been increasing. There are, therefore, reports for 2014 and 2015 which are outstanding. The high court stated that there were 1,913 reports in 2015, whereas four years previously there had been 3,486.
Another issue facing the courts is a lack of interpreters, and these are especially in demand in the summer.
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