Victoria Shadow Attorney General Robert Clark
Chief Justice Warns On Court Crime Pressures Under Labor
Victor P Taffa
Victoria’s Chief Justice has given Premier John Brumby a blunt warning that backlogs in Victoria’s highest court the Court of Appeal are getting worse, not better.
The warning is contained in the Supreme Court’s latest Annual Report, tabled in Parliament today, in which Chief Justice Marilyn Warren states:
‘…the volume of appeals has placed the Court of Appeal under even greater pressure than previously reported. … The situation has worsened in the reporting year…It is essential to the administration of justice in this state that [the court] be appropriately resourced in terms of judges, staff and facilities.’ (Supreme Court 2008-09 Annual Report, p.4)
“The Chief Justice’s warning is further evidence that Victoria’s justice system is struggling to cope with the growing wave of violent crime.” Shadow Attorney-General Robert Clark said today.
“Long delays are creating trauma and distress for ever-increasing numbers of victims and their families who sometimes wait years for appeals to be heard.”
“Attorney-General Rob Hulls is undermining public confidence in the justice system and failing to give courts the support they need, despite bringing almost every area of court administration under his department’s direct control.”
“The Attorney-General must ensure Victorian families get timely justice rather than wasting his time on undermining judges and damaging distractions like his so-called Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities and blowing millions of taxpayers’ dollars on bungled court technology projects.” Mr. Clark said.
The warning by the Chief Justice follows Productivity Commission data released in January showing Victoria’s Supreme Court has the longest criminal appeal waiting list in Australia, with 528 cases waiting to be heard in Victoria as at June last year compared with just 337 cases in June 2003. In comparison, the backlog of appeals in New South Wales fell from 242 to just 165 over the same period.