Dunedin joins modern AVL network

  • Amy Adams
Justice Courts

The Dunedin Courthouse has become the eighteenth court to connect to the audio-visual link (AVL) network, Justice and Courts Minister Amy Adams has announced.

Dunedin becomes the final court to hook into the technology in a $27.8 million upgrade and expansion of AVL links throughout New Zealand. There are also 13 prisons online.

Ms Adams says the technology allows prisoners and defendants remanded in custody to appear in the court without leaving jail, increasing safety and security for the public and court users.

“I welcome the latest addition to our growing AVL network. It allows people in custody at the 13 prisons online to make remote appearances at any of those 18 courts,” Ms Adams says.

“It’s more convenient, cost efficient and safe for everyone, including the prisoners themselves, who no longer have to spend long days travelling or waiting around for what are sometimes brief procedural court appearances.

“About 40,000 remand court appearances are made each year and in the year to April 2015, more than 6500 such appearances were made using AVL without the prisoner having to leave jail.

“In Dunedin alone there is potential for several hundred AVL appearances to be made over the course of the technology’s first year there.”

Ms Adams says AVL is also helping improve court scheduling as prisoners are booked in to appear at specified times.

The technology has been installed with minimal disruption to court business and is now available for use, with the first hearings to be scheduled soon. The AVL programme is a joint initiative of the Department of Corrections and Ministry of Justice, enabled by the Courts (Remote Participation) Act.

AVL installation timeline

New Plymouth – March 2014

Nelson – March 2014

Whangarei – March 2014

Hutt Valley – March 2014

Wellington – May 2014

Blenheim – May 2014

North Shore – May 2014

Palmerston North – May 2014

Napier – May 2014

Invercargill – June 2014

Rotorua – August 2014

Tauranga – September 2014

Gisborne – January 2015

Dunedin – May 2015

NB: AVL was previously installed in the Auckland, Manukau, Waikato and Christchurch courthouses as part of a trial.