Calls for another judge as DV cases clog courts
A SURGE in domestic violence cases expected to hit District Courts across the state has prompted Queensland's chief judge to call for another judge to be appointed.
Chief Judge Kerry O'Brien has asked the state government to appoint another judge to ensure there are enough to handle the influx on top of a rising criminal case load.
In the court's 2015-16 annual report - provided to Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath in October but only made public recently - Judge O'Brien highlights criminal matters lodged with the District Court rose by 5.9 per cent in the last financial year and 6.1 per cent the year before.
In total, 5879 defendants had cases before the courts over the 2015-16 period.
"This has made the administration of the criminal lists more difficult and has placed increased strain upon the court's judicial resources," Judge O'Brien said.
"It is likely also that the recent renewed emphasis on domestic violence, commendable though it is, will continue to create additional work for this court, both by way of additional indictment presentations and by way of appeals from the Magistrates Court.
"The increasing volume, length and complexity of the work dealt with by the court has placed its judicial resources under increasing strain.
"There is now a case I believe for the appointment of an additional judge to the court."
Judge O'Brien also noted trials were growing in complexity and length leading to more jurors being used.
The annual report highlighted an increase also in the number of children required to give evidence in cases of sexual or violent offences, up from 298 to 352 children in 2015-16.