NEWS

Chief Justice: Video Link To Be Used For Court Hearings

Video link facilities may soon be used for court hearings. This was confirmed by Chief Justice Anthony Gates during the opening of the new Lautoka Remand Centre yesterday. “Increasingly applications
30 Apr 2017 10:45
Chief Justice: Video Link To  Be Used For Court Hearings
Chief Justice Anthony Gates and Fiji Corrections Service Commissioner Commander Francis Kean (second right), during a tour inside the new Lautoka Remand Centre on April 29, 2017. Photo: Shahani Mala

Video link facilities may soon be used for court hearings.

This was confirmed by Chief Justice Anthony Gates during the opening of the new Lautoka Remand Centre yesterday.

“Increasingly applications to court for remandees may be handled by CCTV,” Chief Justice Gates said.

“This removes the need to use scarce Corrections or Police transport to bring those detained to court.

“This would be used for bail applications, pre-trial conferences and mentions, but not of course for the trial itself.”

The practice is common in countries closer to home like Australia and New Zealand where district courts routinely use video link facilities for hearings involving people in different locations or custody.

This technology would be useful as Chief Justice said: “In Fiji we are conscious of the need not to waste resources.”

At the opening of the facility, he commended Government for taking the initiative to provide dignified facilities.

“Improving prison conditions, for inmates, investing in better more modern facilities for remandees, these should not be political issues,” he said.

“But carrying out such works is unlikely to win votes. Providing dignified detention or correction facilities must be done by society because it is right to do so.

“Everyone is entitled to the protection of the Bill of Rights in Chapter 2 of the Constitution.

“For these reasons I commend the Government for providing the funds for the Remand Centre at Suva and now for carrying out substantial construction fund improvements at the Lautoka Remand Centre also.”

Facility:

Block One project cost: $1.6million. Construction started in 2014 by the Western Builders Limited and was completed in June 2015.

Block Two project cost: $1.3million. Construction started in December 2016 and was completed in March Both blocks can accommodate combined a total of 190 remandees.

The Lautoka Remand Centre can now cater for 292 remandees.

 

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback:  shahani.mala@fijisun.com.fj

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