Urgent action needed to reduce criminal trial backlog

-->

Shadow Attorney General Paul Lynch is calling on the Liberal Government to increase funding for district courts – as waiting lists for criminal trials blow out, causing delays across regional NSW.  

Recent statistics revealed that between 2007 and 2014, the number of criminal trials pending outside of Sydney increased by 71 per cent, while the number of judicial officers fell from 67 to 61.

“Delays aren’t just an inconvenience – delaying court proceedings can lower the chances of getting the correct, just outcome,” Mr Lynch said.

“This situation is unfair for both victims and the accused.

“In fact the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions has specifically noted delays in sexual assault prosecutions as an area of concern.

“Our judges are expected to deal with an increasing workload with fewer resources – this is just an accountant’s way of running the legal system with no concern for fairness or justice.

“The Liberals promised two extra district court judges for the whole state – that’s not going to make much of a dent in the statewide backlog.

“This government has also shut down local courts in regional NSW in favour of larger, centralised courts.

“The result is people being forced to drive hours just to have their cases heard – and a growing backlog of cases with fewer judicial officers to handle them.

“The Liberal Government must ensure people in country NSW have access to legal services and our court system has the resources to reduce the growing backlog of criminal trials. 

“This must be done by increasing the overall budget, not by shifting the problem and taking resources from Sydney.”