Firm 'sorry' for trial delay

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

GROUP 4, the security company that has taken over a prisoner escort service, yesterday apologised to a judge for bringing a prisoner to court an hour late. But as it did so another prisoner escaped from its guards the second in two days.

The firm is transporting inmates between prisons and courts in the East Midlands and Humberside.

Michael Hirst, head of Group 4, was summoned to Nottingham Crown Court by Mr Justice Igor Judge to explain the delay which held up a murder trial. He apologised but explained that a metal detector check revealed a blade hidden in a prisoner's clothes. The judge accepted the explanation and said problems on the first day of a system were inevitable.

Yesterday's escaper was a remand prisoner being transported from Lincoln prison to Spalding. He was recaught.

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