Further to last week’s opinion piece regarding the lack of a high definition audio visual link at the Court House for bail hearings I witnessed events last Thursday which showed how ludicrous it is that Cowra still doesn’t have the technology.
A link, whereby prisoners can appear before the court while in detention, would save the court and police time and money.
I’d suggest what happened on Thursday wasn’t out of the ordinary and it’s no fault of the police who are being called on to transport prisoners to and from court for appearances when they should be on our streets fighting crime.
On Thursday a young person, who had been refused bail after being charged with assault and malicious damage, was due to appear before the court.
Court started at 9.30am with two matters listed for hearing plus the appearance of the young person.
Police apparently picked the young person up from Bathurst just after 9.30am – I heard this mentioned from the bar table.
This meant that at best it would be around 10.40am before the young person arrived back at the Cowra Police Station where there’d be a further wait while his legal representative received instructions.
Unfortunately when his legal representative attempted to see the young person he couldn’t gain access to the Cowra Police Station as police were busy dealing with other matters and the front door was locked.
Eventually, when the court was ready to deal with the young person, there was a further delay.
A police caged truck wasn’t available to transport the young person from the back of the police station to the side door of the court house.
The court was told it would be 10 minutes before a caged truck would be back at the station.
This stretched to more like 20 or 30 minutes.
The young person was eventually brought across to the court house just after 12.30pm for an appearance which lasted between 20 and 25 minutes, the matter finally dealt with and bail refused just before 1pm.
The court then had to process the young person back through the system before transfer, in the back of a police caged truck, where there are no seat – belts.
So not only do we have cost concerns, but also safety concerns.