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Changes to justice system may ‘reduce transparency’

By notdingers - 4 July 2008 2

This story from the ABC a few days ago is a bit of a worry.

“A bill tabled in the Legislative Assembly yesterday would allow police to send people charged with minor offences straight to court.

Police would be able to hand out court attendance notices to offenders on-the-spot rather than spend time arguing the case for an appearance in front of a magistrate.

The Government says the new laws would save money and free up police.”

Will this free up resources or simply move the load on to the courts who will have to potentially weed through all these appearances to find legitimate cases?

What’s Your opinion?


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2 Responses to
Changes to justice system may ‘reduce transparency’
bigfeet 12:32 pm 04 Jul 08

A similar system has been in place in Queensland and NSW for about 10 years now and it works very well. It reduces the number of people arrested, and police are not wasting time lining up at the court swearing summons, which are invariably issued anyway. (The issue of a summons has a very low standard of proof, then the courts test the evidence anyway.)

I haven’t studied this proposal, but it needs to have an automatic issue of a warrant by the court for failing to appear in accordance with the notice. Otherwise, you are back to the police then having to swear a summons when the person fails to appear on the notice, then serve that summons, then swear a warrant when they disobey the summons.

Spectra 11:22 am 04 Jul 08

Will this free up resources or simply move the load on to the courts who will have to potentially weed through all these appearances to find legitimate cases?

The point is actually also to reduce the load on the courts. Previously there was a preliminary appearance in front of a magistrate to decide whether the case should be heard, so the courts were already weeding through all the appearances.

The ultimate goal is certainly a noble one, but I’m always very wary of any regulations that cut out levels or steps of oversight…

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