Courts adapt to pandemic threat

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Dandenong Magistrates’ Court remains open, though with some “social distancing” modifications.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, first listings will be delayed for up to 20 weeks and more audio-visual links will be used to cut down in-person appearances.

For the first time, telephone appearances will be introduced.

As of 18 March, the Koori Court was immediately suspended to protect the health of elders.

Therapeutic courts such as the Drug Court, programs such as Court Integrated Services Program (CISP), VOCAT and civil prehearings will use telephone contact as much as possible.

First listing times will be extended for at least 12 weeks for accused persons on bail, and 20 weeks for those on summons.

Family violence matters will continue to be fast-tracked – seven days for bail matters and 28 days for summons.

School visits have been suspended.

Chief Magistrate Lisa Hannan said existing listings would continue as usual, subject to the discretion of magistrates, judicial registrars and registrars.

“The safety of our staff, judicial officers, court users and stakeholders is our highest priority,” she said.

“We are readying ourselves to implement a range of additional measures and anticipate making further announcements in the coming days.”

 

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