Transportable to ease court squeeze
Installation of a second courthouse building finished in Karratha last week, completing a move that has been years in the works and is expected to bring greater technology, security and efficiency to the Karratha justice precinct.
The $4.88 million purpose-built transportable courthouse was moved to Karratha last August from Kununurra, where it had been used for more than a year while the town’s permanent court was being built.
It has been undergoing installation next to the permanent, 34year-old Karratha courthouse building ever since, with works finishing this month, and will open for public use in several weeks time.
The new building is anticipated to help accommodate the high volume of cases at the existing courthouse, allowing magistrateonly and higher court jury matters to be held at the same time across two different spaces.
Attorney-General John Quigley said the new facility would be an asset for City of Karratha residents accessing justice services.
“The Kununurra temporary court was built in 2012 as a purpose-built, stand-alone court facility, so it will certainly be an asset in Karratha,” he said.
“Having to go to court, whether to pay a fine or outstanding infringement, register a birth, death or marriage, appear in court as an accused or a witness, can be very stressful and these upgrades to the court precinct are welcome.”
The new courtroom features modern court technology and a secure separate area specifically for victims of crime and child witnesses, which has a remote audio-visual link that allows victims and witnesses to give their evidence away from the main courtroom. Speaking last year in anticipation of the move, Legal Aid WA director of regions Lex Payne said the agency was looking forward to the new Karratha facility because lack of space and security at the existing courthouse had long been a problem.
A Department of AttorneyGeneral spokeswoman said the transfer, while announced in June 2015, had always expected to be completed in mid-2017.
She said the new building was temporary, pending future State Government approval of funding for a replacement courthouse at the site.
The new Karratha Courthouse.