Court wait times blow out on North Coast
THE time taken to finalise a district court matter on the NSW North Coast has blown out by more than two months in three years, the NSW Opposition says.
ALP legal spokesman Paul Lynch said the delays had increased every year from 2014 to 2017 and were having a serious impact in Lismore and Northern NSW.
"Justice delayed really is justice denied," he said.
"The longer it takes, the worse it is for everyone.
"It extends the anguish for victims, it means the memory of victims is less reliable. It ties up police, prosecutors and lawyers and it provides no benefit to people who are charged who can't know their future."
Mr Lynch said figures from the Bureau of Crime Statistics showed the average number of days from arrest to finalisation in district court criminal matters grew from 407 in 2014 to 476 in 2017.
He said there were concerns the growing backlog across Northern NSW was demoralising for victims of crime.
Mr Lynch said the delays meant individuals were waiting longer to go to trial, including being incarcerated for potentially longer than necessary. It also caused a financial burden for loved ones, victims and witnesses who had to travel from around Northern NSW to copious court hearings because of adjournments.
"Whatever money the State Government says it's spending is not stopping the waiting times from growing," he said.