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Colonial courthouse brought into modern age

Refurbishment brings colonial courthouse into modern age

Dargaville's historic Courthouse was officially re-opened today by Courts Minister Rick Barker, following a $827,000 refurbishment and extensions which he said would bring the community's judicial needs into the modern age.

"The Dargaville Courthouse was built in 1877, making it the third oldest in the country. Its refurbishment meets the government's aim to improve the delivery of public services to small and rural communities.

"The Courthouse has been inadequate for many years and its refurbishment has allowed almost a doubling in size of the building."

The refurbishment also provides: large waiting area with comfortable seating and modern public toilets; public counter designed to allow private discussion; state of the art security system; secure cell area with a secure sallyport for the transfer of prisoners; interview rooms for lawyers and clients; secure witness and interview rooms; administration block and a climate control system.

Facilities at the refurbished courthouse will allow a full range of hearings to be held at Dargaville, including Family and Civil, Criminal Summary, Youth and Preliminary Hearings.

Only those hearings identified as a posing a serious security risk, and jury trials, will be held in Whangarei.

"The refurbishment provides for a more comfortable and secure environment for the delivery of judicial services to the community. This is a facility that all stakeholders can truly be proud of," Mr Barker said.

The refurbishment was undertaken between April and October 2003 and during the major construction period court sittings were transferred to Whangarei.

First hearings in the refurbished courthouse will commence tomorrow.

The building contractor was JD & Dl Hastings & Co of Dargaville and the architect was Paris Magdolinos of Napier.

ENDS

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