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Labour’s record: longer and longer court delays

Simon Power MP
National Party Justice & Corrections Spokesman

7 April 2008

Labour’s record: longer and longer court delays

The Government should explain what it’s doing about dealing to the rapidly worsening court waiting times for criminal trials, says National’s Justice & Corrections spokesman, Simon Power.

“Comments by a Detective Senior-Sergeant from Counties-Manukau should be of great concern to the Government.”

Dave Pizzini has been reported as saying police are finding trials increasingly difficult to handle because the availability of witnesses and the quality of evidence are often compromised by long delays in getting cases to court.

“He says officers have to manage complainants and witnesses for up to two years while they wait for a court hearing, and blames an increase in serious crime but no corresponding increase in the number of judges or courtrooms.

“It’s concerning when a police officer says things like this, and the latest figures I have back up his concerns about the long delays.”

The figures show:

* The average wait for a trial from committal to scheduled trial date is 283 days in the district court and 305 days in the High Court.
* There were 241 criminal jury trials outstanding in the High Court and 1,437 in district courts.
* At September last year there were 18,682 cases on hold because defendants had absconded while on bail or had simply failed to turn up.

“This is not good enough. The longer the waiting list for trials, the longer victims have to wait for justice.

“The courts are a mess, and the Labour Government must tell the public how it will address these matters of public safety.

“Their record in this area has been appalling.”


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