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Hamilton second city to benefit from court audio-visual link

Hamilton second city to benefit from court audio- visual links

Justice Minister Simon Power and Corrections Minister Judith Collins today welcomed the rollout of court audio-visual links (AVL) to Hamilton.

The Hamilton AVL facility links Hamilton District Court with Waikeria Prison and is the second of four court/correction facilities to receive the technology.

AVL allows prisoners to appear in court by video link rather than in person It is used mainly for procedural hearings, such as list appearances, call-overs, and bail hearings. It can also be used for trials, but only with the consent of the defendant.

Mr Power said a review of the AVL pilot between Auckland District Court and Mt Eden Corrections Facility found it had multiple benefits.

"AVL was found to speed up court appearances and save legal aid travel costs for lawyers," Mr Power said.

"And, importantly, it was well received by the judiciary, lawyers, victims, and defendants, with many of the latter saying they preferred appearing via AVL rather than in person."

Ms Collins said the review also showed that AVL is improving the safety of all court users.

"It's pleasing to see AVL being used for prisoners with escape alerts, as well as for violent offenders, because it improves the safety of the court for judges, lawyers, court staff and the public.

"AVL also reduces the opportunities for contraband to be smuggled into prison, and is freeing up Corrections Officers' time to do more productive things."

AVL is expected to be rolled out to Manukau District Court and Mt Eden Corrections Facility in October.

Background:

The AVL programme is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Corrections and is enabled by the Courts (Remote Participation) Act.

Court appearances by AVL between Auckland District Court and Mt Eden Corrections Facility have been running for the past year.

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