Potts Calls For More Gold Coast Magistrates

By Russell Varley ABC

The Queensland Attorney-General says he has been advised there is no need for more magistrates on the Gold Coast.

Concerns are being raised about delays in dealing with matters at the Southport Magistrates Court.

Jarrod Bleijie said he takes advice from the chief magistrate on the issue.

“This Government has actually increased the magistracy in Queensland by four – three permanent magistrates and also a permanent, full-time coroner coronial magistrate in central Queensland,” he said.

“So we’ve got every area in Queensland covered now with coroners but we actually in fact in 2012 increased the magistracy by three which is the most magistrates the Queensland Magistrates Court has had.”

Gold Coast lawyer Bill Potts acknowledges the increase in magistrate numbers.

However, Mr Potts said there were large numbers of people coming before the courts in both criminal and civil matters.

“In addition to that, at any one stage, we have magistrates who are away on leave, who are sick or are attending courses,” he said.

“Consequently what we are seeing is a blowing out of the diary and at the present time it can take four to five months before a person can have a sentence date and in some occasions to have a trial can take anything up to nine months.”