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Issued: Monday, 15 February 2016
NSW Attorney General Gabrielle Upton today officially opened the new $90 million courthouse in Newcastle, the state's largest regional courthouse.
"Today marks an exciting new era for justice services in Newcastle and the Hunter region," Ms Upton said.
"The last time a new courthouse was opened in the CBD was the Church Street building on 29 February 1892 – almost 124 years ago.
"This new $90 million, seven-storey complex is the most secure and technologically advanced courthouse in the state, setting a benchmark for how we deliver modern justice services in NSW."
The 12,000 square metre complex has 10 state-of-the-art courtrooms and two tribunal rooms for Local, District and Supreme Court hearings, including a courtroom large enough to cater for trials with eight defendants and up to 15 jury members.
Video conferencing technology allows remote bail applications and testimonies from off-site witnesses, and new extensive jury facilities include five deliberation rooms.
Victims can give "in camera" evidence from one of six private and secure suites, and private rooms will reduce the stress of taking part in the court process for domestic violence victims and their families.
In addition, there is dedicated space for the NSW Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Legal Aid and Justice Health & Forensic Mental Health Network.
Closed Circuit Television cameras and an airport-style scanner and metal detector will be used to monitor the building, and 190 solar panels and energy efficient air conditioning will reduce its carbon footprint.
The development employed more than 1500 local tradespeople from Newcastle and surrounds over the past two years injecting millions into the area.
District and Local Court sittings start onsite on 22 February 2016.