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Supreme Court could help reduce backlog

Tony Ryall National Law & Order spokesman

20 May 2004

Supreme Court could help reduce backlog

National Party Law & Order spokesman Tony Ryall is sending Courts Minister Rick Barker a bill for policy advice.

Mr Barker today announced extra funding to help clear the backlog of cases waiting to go before the courts. Extra money was also to be made available for digital audio technology to improve recording and transcribing of evidence. As of March this year there were 34,500 cases waiting in district courts.

"We've been telling the Government for well over a year to do these things. Sadly, none of them will have any impact on the backlog for some time. The Minister should have done these things a year ago," Mr Ryall says.

"To have an immediate impact, the Government should now ask the five Surpreme Court judges to sit on the High Court to help clear the backlog. These top legal minds could clear many of these delays within a few weeks.

"In the past six months the country's top judges have considered only a handful of very minor applications. Having them in Wellington with not a lot of case work is a dreadful waste of judicial resource."

The Government has also copied Mr Ryall's plan for speeding up ESR drug testing.

"I'll put a bill in the mail for that, too," says Mr Ryall.

National has also released answers to written questions which show that the delays in the courts system have lengthened since last year.

Jury trials are taking almost two weeks longer on average to get through the system in the High Courts (170 to 179 days), and a month longer in the District Courts (165 to 185 days).

ENDS

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