Issued: 30 January 2014
Port Kembla Courthouse will soon begin hearing video bail applications made from prisons, Attorney General Greg Smith announced today. High definition Audio Visual Link (AVL) systems have been installed in both of Port Kembla's courtrooms, as part of a $300,000 upgrade of the courthouse. "AVL is like a supercharged version of Skype – it enables high quality and secure video communication between the court and people in other locations, such as defendants in custody or overseas witnesses," Mr Smith said. "The use of AVL reduces the need to transport prisoners lengthy distances to court each time their case is mentioned,' Mr Smith said. "This not only saves millions of dollars for taxpayers, it makes our courts safer and minimises disruption to prisoner rehabilitation programs. "Prisoners appearing via AVL can see and hear what is happening in court and can participate in the proceedings in the same way that they would if they were sitting in the dock." Video technology has also been installed in a remote witness room at Port Kembla Courthouse, which will enable vulnerable people such as sexual assault victims to give "in camera" evidence. "Instead of facing their alleged attacker in court, the victim will be able to testify from the privacy of the remote witness room," Mr Smith said. Lawyers at the courthouse will be able to use a new video suite to speak with clients who are being held at correctional centres. Mr Smith said all of the technology installed at Port Kembla Courthouse will help the justice system run more efficiently.