Third-world justice in Victoria

Too bad if you are innocent

Delays in preparing cases for Victorian courts have meant some prisoners have spent up to three-and-a-half years on remand before facing a judge. The backlog is related to staffing issues at the state's Forensic Science Centre, where evidence is tested, a Melbourne newspaper reports. The spokeswoman for Attorney-General Rob Hulls, Liz Armitage, told the newspaper four people sentenced last year spent more than 1,000 days on remand. All four were remanded for murder and received sentences of more than 15 years, Ms Armitage said. "The four were involved in a long and complex investigation and trial involving multiple defendants with complications, including the need for interpreters."

A Victorian Department of Justice document said, on average, remandees who were sentenced last year spent 114 days on remand. This ranged from one day to 1,250 days. Ms Armitage said time spent on remand was taken into account when judges decided jail terms. The Department of Justice spokeswoman said figures were not kept on the time those who were later acquitted spent on remand. Liberty Victoria's Brian Walters SC said three years on remand was "a radical problem in the criminal justice system".

Source

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