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Justice taking longer and longer

Justice taking longer and longer

There's more evidence today that the Government is ignoring the growing pressure on the country's justice system, as defendants wait longer and longer to have their cases decided in the courts, says the National Party.

New figures released by National's Police spokesman Tony Ryall show record delays at the nation's courts with some defendants waiting more than a year to come before a judge.

"Justice delayed is justice denied," says Mr Ryall. "In most parts of the country, defendants are waiting longer and longer from the time they're committed to trial until their case is completed."

"And the delays are getting worse - in the Nelson High Court, for example, it took 11 days from trial committal to case completion in 2000, but this year it was more like 300 days. In New Plymouth High Court, the delay is over a year.

"This is Government mismanagement that is denying justice to thousands of victims of crime," says Mr Ryall.

"These sort of delays cause no end of anguish. They put victims in danger of violence and prevent defendants beginning their sentences, or clearing their names.

"And as we revealed last year, record numbers of cases are waiting before the courts - more than 32,000, up 32% since National was in government.

"As National also revealed, judges are concerned at these delays too. Criminal lawyers and prosecutors are increasingly frustrated at the time taken to get cases through our clogged courts system. The President of the Law Commission, Justice Robertson, has said our District Courts suffer from a 'gross lack of resources' and are 'too slow'.

"National says we need more judges, better use of technology, improved case management practices and more resources for DNA and other testing services.

"We won't get these with a Government more intent on spending money on social engineering than on justice," says Mr Ryall.

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