The Ministry of Justice has responded to the New Zealand Law Society's call for an independent evaluation of a recent Auckland pilot involving courtroom Audio Visual Services.
"The Ministry of Justice has been working closely with stakeholders and the judiciary to test the feasibility of using AVS for arrest appearances in the Auckland District Court from the police custody unit adjacent to Mt Eden Correctional Facility. We recognise that maintaining the right balance of independent roles is a prime consideration in designing a process for remote appearances," says Renee Smith, Acting Group Manager Courts and Tribunals.
"We acknowledge the importance of the concerns raised and want to continue working with the legal community to address them. While a temporary operating model continues on a reduced scale, I can assure your readers that no decisions have been made to implement this in Auckland or elsewhere. The Ministry wants to continue to work with the legal community to resolve the issues raised and develop a model that serves the interests of justice. We expect this to include further evaluation," Renee Smith says.
The Ministry says the New Zealand Law Society, Auckland District Law Society and Criminal Bar Association have been approached to be members of a national working group to address these issues.