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Its time to consider judge only night courts!

Friday 7, December 2005

Alexander: Its time to consider judge only night courts!

"The increasing delays in high court trials, and the huge backlog of cases yet to see the inside of a courtroom is unfair to victims and the falsely accused," said United Future Law & Order spokesman Marc Alexander.

"The whole system needs a radical rethink because although the government will increase the number of High Court judges from 42 to 55 and District Court judges from 123 to 140, this will be only a small patch-up job to an intrinsically intractable problem."

"With such a high rate of crime and our present snails pace of court room resolutions, we will never be able to have a timely process that's fair to all. We can blame the number of judges.the availability of councils.absconded defendants and so on until we're blue in the face, but the real culprit is that we have an outmoded and outdated system that simply cannot cope no matter how much we tinker with it."

"What we need to do is go back to the drawing boards and design a court system that meets our present day needs with our present high rates of offending."

"One obvious answer would be to use our idle courts at night. We could easily have judge-only night courts to move speedily through low level offences as other countries have successfully done. For example, there is no reason why burglars who mostly offend at night could not also be tried and judged at night."

"In the long run it will be cheaper because those eventually found guilty won't be out in the community continuing to offend in the intervening period."

"The real winner would be that victims can get their day in court promptly so they don't have it hanging over their heads and putting their lives on hold. Also those accused will be swiftly dealt with one way or another."

ENDS

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