Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

District Court Addresses Remand Prisoners Sentencing Delays


The District Court has taken steps to address the high number of prisoners awaiting sentence.

The Acting Chief District Court Judge, Judge John Walker, says with the support of the Ministry of Justice and Corrections, he started working on measures some weeks ago to address the issue.

“This has led me to be able to allocate eight extra judge-weeks in Auckland, Manukau and Christchurch courts for sentencing remand prisoners,” Judge Walker says.

Earlier this week Judge Walker also issued a direction to lawyers aimed at ensuring sentencing dates are met and court time is not wasted.

Prisoners held on remand account for more than one third of the prison population, and about 1200 of those prisoners are awaiting sentence. Judge Walker says many have been waiting a long time to be sentenced.

“People have a right to have timely access to justice, especially when they are being held in custody.

“Without some priority given to remand prisoners, they are more likely to be released when they come up for sentencing because of time already served. Remand prisoners, unlike prisoners formally sentenced to jail terms, are not eligible for rehabilitation programmes while in custody, which has implications for community safety.”

Among the other measures, the direction requires lawyers to certify 10 days in advance of a sentencing hearing that the case is ready to proceed or to identify any barriers to it proceeding. This is to ensure those issues can be addressed, and if necessary, the court time reallocated to another case.

Judge Walker says, as well, Corrections has undertaken to be more proactive in relation to sentencing preparation, including resolving earlier in the process any difficulties with finding suitable addresses for electronically monitored sentences.

Judge Walker says all parts of the District Court are under pressure, and the Chief and Principal Judges move judicial resource around to relieve the most acute pressure points, where it is feasible.

“The fact there have been inadequate judicial numbers to deal with the increasing seriousness and complexity in the criminal jurisdiction and backlogs arising in the Family Court because of legislative reform in that jurisdiction was acknowledged in the 2019 Budget. The government lifted the cap on District Court Judge numbers to 182 and made immediate provision for 12 Judges to be appointed.

“While we await those extra appointments, and having identified the pressure on sentencing dates, I have put additional judicial resources into this priority area.”

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Madrid Climate Talks: Decade Ending 2019 Likely To Be Hottest On Record

Exceptional global heat driven by greenhouse gas emissions mean this decade will most likely go down as the warmest on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization...

The agency also finds that 2019 is on track to be the second or third warmest year in history, with the global average temperature during January through October, roughly 1.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial era.

“If we do not take urgent climate action now, then we are heading for a temperature increase of more than 3°C by the end of the century, with ever more harmful impacts on human wellbeing.” More>>

 

NZ First Conflicts Of Interest: New Details Around Timeline

New information has emerged showing it was the New Zealand First chief of staff who identified potential conflicts of interest between a forestry company and two senior government ministers, sparking a series of declarations. More>>

Earlier:

Donations:

Five New Cancer Meds In Six Months: Pharmac Funds More Cancer Medicines, Faster Assessment

PHARMAC has confirmed that two new medicines – olaparib for ovarian cancer and fulvestrant for breast cancer – have been approved for funding... Rituximab and bortezomib, which are already funded, have also been approved for widened access following successful commercial proposals from new suppliers. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Stoking Fears About Cannabis Law Reform

It was always going to be hard to have a rational debate on cannabis reform. Far easier for politicians to win votes by stoking alarm... More>>

ALSO:

Tūhoronuku Mandate Recognition Ends: "New Opportunity" For Ngāpuhi Treaty Negotiations

The Crown is providing an opportunity for the hapu of Ngāpuhi to rebuild its framework from the ground up for collective negotiations to deal with its historical Treaty claims... More>>

ALSO:

Pike River: Next Phase Of Recovery Underway

“Fresh air will be pumped into the Pike River Mine drift this week, following acceptance of the plan for re-entry beyond the 170m barrier by New Zealand’s independent health and safety regulator WorkSafe." More>>

ALSO:

Peters Stoic: Russia On Afghan Firing Range Deaths

The foreign minister won't be calling in the Russian ambassador concerning comments made about New Zealand soldiers in Afghanistan. In a media briefing late last month, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said New Zealand must investigate crimes against civilians. More>>

ALSO:

Christchurch Call: Online Crisis Response Workshop In Wellington

Governments and tech companies are holding a two-day workshop, hosted by YouTube/Google in Wellington, to test the Christchurch Call Shared Crisis Response Protocol. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels