An audio-visual link between Manukau District Court and Mt Eden Corrections Facility went live today, Justice Minister Simon Power and Corrections Minister Judith Collins announced today.
AVL technology allows prisoners to appear in court by video link rather than in person. It is used mainly for procedural hearings, such as list appearances, call-overs, and bail hearings. It can be used for trials, but only with the consent of the defendant.
Mr Power said AVL has been operating between Auckland District Court and Mt Eden Corrections Facility for the past year, and last month began operating between Hamilton District Court and Waikeria Prison.
“Feedback from the judiciary, lawyers, victims, Corrections Officers, and defendants indicates that AVL is being well received, and it’s pleasing to see that in many cases defendants prefer to appear via AVL than in person.”
“AVL is also helping to make our courts more efficient by speeding up appearances and saving transport costs for defendants and legal aid lawyers.”
Ms Collins said AVL is helping to improve safety.
“In many cases AVL is being used for violent prisoners and those with escape alerts, which is improving safety for all court users.
“AVL also has other benefits, including reducing opportunities for contraband to be smuggled into prisons.”
The AVL programme is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Corrections and is enabled by the Courts (Remote Participation) Act.
The next AVL installation will be between Christchurch District Court and Christchurch Men's Prison, but the timing is yet to be determined.