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Power Works On Ways To Clear Courts Backlog

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Simon Power
Simon Power

Justice Minister Simon Power is going to bring a bill to Parliament with more measures to help clear the court case backlog.

He said yesterday they included raising the threshold needed for a jury trial, requiring counsel to attempt to resolve cases before going to a hearing, and requiring the defence to identify disputed issues so the court could focus on them at trial.

Mr Power told the Sensible Sentencing Trust conference 18-month delays in cases going to trial were unacceptable and were "drawing out what is an already painful experience for victims and their families".

He has already introduced a raft of measures to speed up the court process and said they were showing results.

They include the recent introduction of audio visual links in courts and prisons and the removal of oral depositions hearings.

Mr Power also told the conference a new Victims Rights Act would be drafted early next year and the Ministry of Justice was analysing public submissions on issues which included the censorship of victim impact statements, victim-prosecutor communication and the victim notification system.

Another significant announcement yesterday was a proposal to pre-screen prisoners up for parole to "weed out" those who are unlikely to be granted release.

Mr Power said that would spare victims the trauma of regular parole board hearings and allow the board to focus on cases requiring more careful consideration.

He told NZPA it would be some time before the Cabinet discussed the proposal.

NZPA

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