: Corrections Victoria failure to bring prisoners to court continues

Corrections Victoria failure to bring prisoners to court continues

Robert Corr
Victoria

Victorian courts have sharply criticised Corrections Victoria for its failure to bring prisoners to court for hearings, but the agency continues to breach the rights of those in its custody.

Victoria Legal Aid said that 455 Magistrates’ Court matters were affected in the first seven weeks of 2016, with some prisoners being unable to apply for bail or missing assessments for community-based sentences.

The Herald Sun reported that Corrections Victoria has been fined 650 times since 2013 for holding people in custody rather than bringing them to their scheduled court appearances, including over $110 000 in fines in the first half of 2016. 

In March, a magistrate told The Age in some cases it was more likely an accused person would attend court on their own recognisance than if they remained in custody. ‘I’m releasing people — not high-risk — but I’m releasing them on bail because I can’t guarantee they’ll appear.’

The problem had not been resolved by August. After being told that a number of prisoners could not apply for bail as they had not been brought to court, Magistrate Timothy Walsh warned Corrections officers, ‘They can be brought in or they’ll be released on bail’.

The government has announced $14 million in funding to improve video link facilities, which it hopes will reduce congestion in the prisoner transport system.

The Victorian Charter of Rights and Responsibilities requires that people must not be subjected to arbitrary detention, and that deprivation of their liberty must only be in accordance with procedures established by law.

ROBERT CORR is a Legal Studies teacher at the Mac.Robertson Girls’ High School.

(2016) 41(3) AltLJ 214
You are here: Home News & Views DownUnderAllOver DUAO - Vol 41(3) Corrections Victoria failure to bring prisoners to court continues

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