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Saving time will see justice done: Nandor

12 February, 2004

Saving time will see justice done: Nandor

Green MP Nandor Tanczos today congratulated Court Minister Rick Barker on his initiative to cut court waiting times.

Mr Barker has announced a pilot scheme at the Wellington District Court that is designed to streamline defendant's first appearance by sorting out "matters such as receiving legal advice from a duty solicitor, making an application for legal aid or getting bail conditions agreed by consent" without involving a judge.

Nandor, the Green Justice Spokesperson, said that currently people charged with minor offences are wasting away hours in court while they wait for their case to come up, only to be told to come back next month. This can affect work, study and family.

"Sorting out all the preliminary issues before the defendant appears in the dock will ensure that judges are being used for what they are actually there for - hearing cases.

"Courts are a particularly weird place for people appearing for the first time. This can lead to a miscarriage of justice simply because the defendant is confused or because they can't afford to take the time off again and again .

"Under this proposal, ordinary New Zealanders will be properly informed and processed when they first arrive at the court and can go before the judge with a great deal more understanding," said Nandor.

ENDS

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