​New Armidale Court among the best in Regional NSW

Issued: Friday, 17 January 2014
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Attorney General Greg Smith SC and Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall today officially opened the new Armidale Courthouse.

“Armidale now has one of the finest courts in regional NSW and I congratulate all the local tradespeople involved in getting this project back on track and completed in time for the new law term,” Mr Smith said.

“This is a great day for Armidale, with our city given the state-of-the-art courthouse it deserves,” Mr Marshall added.

“The new building is larger, more secure and more technologically advanced than the previous courthouse.”

“It has been designed to better accommodate the needs of all court users, particularly jurors, victims of crime and the legal profession,” Mr Marshall said.

The complex includes a trial court, a local court and a multipurpose room that could be used to conduct a callover court or to assemble jurors. There are also two wheelchair-accessible jury deliberation rooms.

Mr Marshall said the courthouse had been designed to reduce prisoner contact with the public.

“Defendants in custody will be brought to the court from the police station via a secure passageway, which is a major improvement on previous arrangements where prisoners were escorted through a public thoroughfare,” Mr Marshall said.

Armidale Court Opening: Pictured from left to right are the Member for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall; Attorney General, Greg Smith SC; Armidale Magistrate, Karen Stafford; Senior Aboriginal Officer, Brian Dennison; and President of the Law Society of NSW, Ros Everett.
Armidale Court Opening: Pictured from left to right are the Member for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall; Attorney General, Greg Smith SC; Armidale Magistrate, Karen Stafford; Senior Aboriginal Officer, Brian Dennison; and President of the Law Society of NSW, Ros Everett.

“The local court has an enclosed dock for prisoners and courthouse security will be bolstered by CCTV cameras, duress alarms and electronic access control of restricted areas.”

High definition Audio Visual Link facilities will enable the court to hear bail applications made from jails and to receive testimony from witnesses in locations across Australia and all over the world.

Victims of sexual assault will be able to testify by closed circuit camera from a private and secure room within the courthouse – sparing them the ordeal of facing their alleged attacker in court.

“The victim’s video evidence will be recorded for use in possible retrials so that they do not need to testify again,” Mr Smith said.

The building also has 11 interview rooms which will be utilised by the legal profession, justices of the peace and other legal services. One of the interview rooms has Audio Visual Link to enable lawyers to interview clients in prison.

Mr Marshall said a spacious indoor public waiting area would ensure court users were no longer exposed to the elements.

“The waiting area at the old courthouse was outdoors and while it had a roof, there was no heating or air conditioning,” Mr Marshall said.

“The new courthouse has an energy efficient system that will keep the building cool in summer and warm in winter.”