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Justice delayed is justice denied

Tony Ryall National Police Spokesman

2 December 2003

Justice delayed is justice denied

Almost 40 suspects charged with criminal offences, including drug-manufacture and sex attacks, have walked free without trial because of official delays in the court system, says National's Police spokesman Tony Ryall.

He's commenting on answers to Parliamentary questions which also show record numbers of cases are waiting before the courts. Currently 32,359 cases are waiting, up 32% since 1999.

"It is Government mismanagement that's denying justice to thousands crime victims," says Mr Ryall.

"These delays benefit no one but the guilty.

"Victims of crime deserve justice, and criminals should be quickly removed from society.

"Delays cause no end of anguish. They put victims in danger of violence and stop defendants clearing their names if innocent, or in beginning their sentences if guilty," says Mr Ryall.

"Criminal lawyers and prosecutors are increasingly frustrated at the length of time it takes to get cases through this clogged system. The President of the Law Commission, Justice Robertson, said our District Courts suffer from a "gross lack of resources" and are "too slow".

"Cases should be heard early when evidence and recollections of witnesses are still fresh.

"It's appalling that there's time and money to prosecute Shane Ardern, in a case that the judge thinks is a joke, but there's none to protect people from suspected drug-dealers and violent offenders," says Mr Ryall.

Ends

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