Gympie court blast: Slow govt agencies keep people in jail
GYMPIE magistrate Chris Callaghan has blasted "unbelievable” delays forced on his court by slow moving state and federal bureaucracies.
His targets, among bureaucracies holding up cases before the court yesterday, included Gympie Hospital and its Sunshine Coast parent organisation and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
Mr Callaghan said justice was being delayed, with some defendants waiting in custody, while vital information repeatedly failed to arrive.
"Stunning bureaucracy,” he said after being told of medical reports which had not been provided in cases linked to an alleged violent home invasion at Rifle Range Rd.
The three defendants in that case are Kyle Andrew Alve, 25, of Southside, Lachlan Patrick Muller, 21, of Chatsworth and Mitchell Bennett Byrne, 27, of Gympie.
They were each remanded in custody to appear in the court again on April 29.
Police told the court of a backlog in obtaining statements from doctors at Gympie Hospital, with liaison through the Sunshine Coast hospital system.
In the case of John Edward Featherstone, 61, of the Rockhampton suburb of Norman Gardens, the court was told of difficulties obtaining relevant information from ASIC about a fraud charge Featherstone is facing.
Police told Mr Callaghan there was "currently a formal application process (in progress) for release (of the required material)”.
"I'm getting quite sick of government departments, whatever the department is, not co-operating with the prosecution of people charged with criminal offences,” Mr Callaghan said.
"Queensland police can't get a statement out of ASIC in five weeks.
"They're not above the Queensland police are they?” Mr Callaghan said.
Told they were not, he said: "Why is it we can't get a statement?”
Featherstone's case was adjourned to May 13.
"At least this fellow's on bail, the others aren't,” Mr Callaghan said.
And in another case, a man on sex offence charges, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had his case adjourned to April 29, with some material still not provided by police.
The court was told a Gold Coast police officer had not taken one statement "to the level required” for presentation as evidence.
"Why can't police officers co-operate with the Queensland Police Service?” Mr Callaghan asked.
"The courts get continually blamed for delaying cases,” he said.
"It's very frustrating when government departments aren't co-operating with other government departments,” Mr Callaghan said.