Local Muswellbrook Magistrate Appointed

Filed under Hunter Valley, Legal, News ~ by Press on  28 Feb 2019

The appointment of new Local Court Circuits – at Grafton in the Northern Rivers, and Muswellbrook, in the Hunter region, each with a new magistrate – will relieve delays and overcrowding in regional hearings.

The NSW State Government is funding the appointment of two extra Local Court magistrates through a $4.1 million package in response to the Child Abuse Royal Commission.

Muswellbrook will have a magistrate based in the town to preside over a new Local Court circuit that will also include sittings at Singleton and Scone and boost sittings across six courts in the Hunter and Tamworth by more than 250 days.

Attorney General Mark Speakman welcomed the establishment by the Chief Magistrate Judge Graeme Henson of the additional circuit in the Hunter, from 1 July this year.

The new Muswellbrook Local Court Circuit is great news for communities in the Hunter because extra sitting days will take pressure off the regional courts and ensure victims and their families have better access to justice.” Mr Speakman said.

Under the changes, Cessnock Local Court will gain 60 additional sitting days per year, followed by 48 in each of Muswellbrook, Singleton and Toronto Local Courts.

Belmont gains 24 extra sitting days a year. Sittings at Scone and Kurri Kurri will remain the same. The announcement was welcomed by the NSW Law Society.

The changes mean that for the first time, both Grafton and Muswellbrook will each have a new magistrate based locally and presiding over a new Local Court circuit,” said NSW Law Society President, Elizabeth Espinosa.

This will help relieve the pressure on the local courts and assist in reducing the backlogs and lengthy delays which are currently impacting on victims of crime, witnesses and the accused.

I know members of the legal profession in these areas will welcome the additional sitting days that will flow on from this announcement.

They know only too well the additional stress that court delays can place on victims of crime, witnesses and the accused,” she said.

We welcome the news and will, on behalf of the state’s solicitors, continue to call on the NSW Government to commit to additional local court resources in other regions around the state.”

The creation of a new Grafton Local Court Circuit will see Tweed Heads gain 60 sitting days per year, Lismore Local Court will sit for an extra 36 days and Grafton’s sittings will increase by 24 days.

Casino, Kyogle, Maclean, Ballina, Byron Bay, Murwillumbah, and Mullumbimby each benefit from 12 extra sitting days a year.

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