Legislative Council: Tuesday, May 02, 2023


SA Courts System Delays

In reply to the Hon. F. PANGALLO ().7 March 2023).

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector): My response to this question is confined to the trials listed in the superior courts (the District and Supreme Courts). These are the matters which are the most serious, and which generally involve the most complex and long-lasting trials. I have also limited my response to criminal matters, given that the honourable member's question arose in the context of an applicant for bail.

Further, I have assumed that the honourable member's question concerns the time between arraignment in the higher court and the date on which trials are to commence.

I am advised by the Courts Administration Authority that, as at 16 March 2023 there were 53 criminal matters in which the trial is listed to commence 12 or more months from that date. All of those matters are before the District Court.

I am advised that there are many reasons why trials might not be capable of listing within 12 months of the date of arraignment. The Chief Justice mentioned some of these in the decision to which the honourable member referred. They include the availability of counsel and witnesses (sometimes including forensic or other expert witnesses); and the need for the trial to be listed for days or weeks, depending on the complexity and volume of the material to be presented.