Gisborne Court gets connected to AVL network

  • Amy Adams
Justice Courts

Justice and Courts Minister Amy Adams has welcomed the addition of the Gisborne courthouse to the audio visual link (AVL) network that connects courts and prisons.

The new link is the latest in a $27.8 million upgrade and expansion of AVL links to a total of 17 courts and 13 prisons. The installation of AVL into the Dunedin courthouse is expected to be completed by May.

Ms Adams says AVL increases safety and security for the public and court staff by allowing prisoners at connected facilities to make remote court appearances at any connected court in the country, without having to leave prison.

“Around 40,000 remand court appearances are made each year and AVL allows for a significant number of these to take place while the prisoner remains behind the wire,” says Ms Adams.

“Already we are seeing strong use of AVL with about 2500 remote appearances between August and December.

“Each of those appearances represents a prisoner who has not been escorted to court, placed in a holding cell, and then returned to prison. Not only does AVL make the whole process safer, it also cuts out all of the costs associated with taking these people to and from the court for what is often a very brief appearance.”

Ms Adams says AVL is also playing a big role in improving court scheduling with prisoners able to appear in specific time slots rather than waiting in holding cells and being brought to the courtroom, which can be a time consuming process. This improvement frees up more time for other court business.

AVL technology has been installed around court schedules, with thousands of metres of cables being installed outside of normal Court business hours. The AVL programme is a joint initiative of the Department of Corrections and the Ministry of Justice and is enabled by the Courts (Remote Participation) Act.

AVL completion 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 - scheduled to be installed by May 2015

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