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Quake stopscourt in Princes Town
For the past two days the Princes Town Magistrates’ Court, which was relocated to the Rio Claro Magistrates’ Court following the 6.9 earthquake, has been non- functional.
Neither prisoners nor people with new cases appeared before a magistrate.
The prisoners were all remanded in absentia.
Three people, including two men charged with robbery and another charged with a sex offence, were remanded without the charges being read to them nor being given an opportunity to request bail.
Police officers from the Princes Town Magistrates’ Court have refused to enter the Rio Claro Magistrates’ Court because they are concerned about whether that building is structurally safe.
Up until Friday, Princes Town First Court Magistrate Rae Roopchan and Second Court Magistrate Nalini Singh were dealing with prisoners in the Rio Claro Police Station.
On Monday, prisoners appeared before a magistrate in the car park of the court building.
However, for the past two days prisoners were remanded into custody without seeing a magistrate.
President of the Police Social and Welfare Association, acting ASP Michael Seales, confirmed that the association’s vice president ASP Richard Corbett and another member, ASP Wayne Mohammed, visited the Rio Claro court following complaints by its members attached to the Princes Town court.
He said Corbett has suggested that they write the Judiciary requesting the engineering report for the Rio Claro court.
“Most of the members who have raised this issue suggest that they are not satisfied that the court itself is structurally safe and that they were not able to get from anyone concrete proof that the court has been deemed structurally safe following the recent 6.9 earthquake,” Seales said.
He said efforts by Corbett to communicate to the court manager of the Rio Claro Court were unsuccessful. He said even their members from the Rio Claro court cannot say whether an engineering report deeming the building safe for occupation exists.
Seales said there should be full disclosure and some type of conversation and compromise so every party wins.
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