By Laura Maltby Thursday 22 November 2012 Updated: 27/11 09:04
WARWICK Crown Court and the public areas of Warwickshire Justice Centre in Leamington had to be evacuated today after four huge glass panels shattered.
It is believed strong winds caused the framework to twist, shattering four of the large reinforced glass panels in the glazed roof above the central stairwell leading to the floors that house the county, magistrates and crown courts.
Although they remained in place, there were fears another gust could send one or more of them plummeting down into the stairwell.
Security personnel and maintenance staff cordoned off the area on the top floor to prevent people getting to the stairs or the lift.
And the work in the three courts which were sitting was suspended before barristers, solicitors, probation officers, CPS staff, defendants who were on bail and members of the public were led through one of the courts and down flights of stairs to an outside door.
The evacuation was made easier as, unusually, none of the magistrates courts were sitting.
The courts will not open until the damaged glass has been removed and repairs have been carried out – but it was not clear how long that would be.
In the meantime, crown court cases due to be heard at Warwick Crown Court are being moved to Coventry Crown Court.
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