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Barker fails to deliver timely justice

Richard Worth MP National Party Justice Spokesman

28 October 2005

Barker fails to deliver timely justice

National Party Justice spokesman Richard Worth says the case logjam in the courts is getting worse and is unlikely to change as long as Rick Barker is Courts Minister.

"The Minister has had since 2003 to resolve the substantial delays occurring in the courts. These delays prejudice both the accused and the system of justice itself," says Dr Worth.

"Multiple adjournments are common. The results are long delays in the resolution of cases. Witnesses turn up to give evidence only to find the case is postponed. Court staff are involved in unnecessary work duplication. Lawyers prepare and then have to re-prepare their cases.

"In Auckland, neither the North Shore District Court nor the Waitakere District Court conduct jury trials. These are conducted only in the Auckland District Court.

"Substantive hearings are occurring more than one year after the offence has been committed. Some hearings are delayed for several years simply because the Auckland District Court cannot fit in cases from outlying courts.

"The situation is untenable and is getting worse as North Shore and Waitakere grow in size.

"The Minister cannot claim he is unaware of the problem; nor can he claim the resources are not available to deal with it. Instead, he and the Minister of Justice choose to ignore the issues.

"National has made it clear that it seeks the timely dispatch of criminal cases within six months of charges being laid. The interests of justice require the Minister to commit himself to the effective dispatch of court business.

"To date he has lamentably failed," says Dr Worth.

ENDS

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