Trans­portable to ease court squeeze

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

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.

Pic­ture: Ali­cia Per­era

The new Kar­ratha Court­house.

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