Hastings Court gets audio-visual link

  • Amy Adams
Justice Courts

The recent upgrade to audio visual technology in the Hastings Court is a welcome addition to the network of courts and prisons which allows remote appearances in courts, Justice and Courts Minister Amy Adams says.

“Equipping the Hastings Court with an audio-visual link (AVL) will increase the number of defendants who make virtual appearances in our courts without leaving prison,” says Ms Adams.

“Virtual appearances reduce the likelihood of security incidents and makes courts safer for those who use and work in them. Hastings District Court has the potential to hold more than 800 events by audio visual link every year.”

Hastings joins the existing AVL network which already includes the Napier Court and Hawkes Bay Regional Prison. Twenty courthouses across New Zealand are now connected to the network.

“Audio visual capability in courts is helping overcome distances and travel, and improve the experience of court users, particularly vulnerable witnesses and victims. This means courts can deliver a better service for the public. It’s giving us a better understanding of the contribution that technology can play in a modern and accessible justice system,” says Ms Adams. 

“Victims and their families can also feel safer attending court without the defendant present, and the cameras used in the process can be angled so that victims can’t be seen by the defendant.

Remote appearances are enabled by the Courts Participation Act which came into effect in 2010. The AVL programme is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Justice and Department of Corrections.

In addition to dedicated links between courts and prisons, most district and higher courts have access to video conferencing technology to enable witnesses from New Zealand and overseas to give evidence remotely, and for a range of other purposes such as displaying evidence.