Calls for Attorney-General to probe Rocky court delays
A ROCKHAMPTON solicitor has written to the Attorney-General to voice his concerns after acting Rockhampton magistrate Mark Morrow was stood down following his crackdown on long delays to police evidence.
In a letter to Attorney-General and Justice Minister Yvette D'Ath sent on Tuesday, David Mills of David Mills Lawyers voiced his own concerns over police delays to cases.
A spokesperson for the Attorney-General confirmed Mr Mills's letter has been received and she will be responding directly to him.
The letter comes after Magistrate Morrow was stood down from his magistrate role after publicly demanding an explanation from police over repeated justice delays.
Mr Mills stated in his letter that "in the absence of any explanation ... the only inference can be that he has been punished for bringing these matters to light".
The Morning Bulletin understands Mr Morrow is currently on stress leave and was admitted to hospital Wednesday.
Mr Morrow stated in court last month that he did not want to see a repeat of Troy Allan Donovan's case. Mr Donovan was remanded in custody for two years on a manslaughter charge which was later dismissed.
The charge was finally dismissed as a result of medical records being obtained that ruled out Mr Donovan's actions as the cause of death of his defacto.
In his letter, Mr Mills said three of the eight cases under scrutiny by Magistrate Morrow were clients of his firm.
One was remanded in custody since his arrest and prosecution had never disclosed that methamphetamines needing analysis had been misplaced for five months.
"The above mentioned issues were never disclosed to defence despite the matter being repeatedly mentioned over a period in excess of five months," Mr Mills said.
"Indeed, if it were not for His Honour (Morrow) demanding the affidavits from the prosecution, defence would not be aware the exhibit was in fact lost.
"There are many other examples that despite declarations to the court by police prosecutions, only partial briefs are provided; crucial statements absent; missing exhibits and cases where indexes are not even included. How can one determine what constitutes a brief if there is no index as to what should be included in the brief?"
"This firm is deeply concerned over a lack of oversight with the preparation of police briefs at the Rockhampton Police Station."
Mr Mills suggested Rockhampton station was the only one in the state where these problems were arising and it had resulted in summary reviews/committal callovers, which used to be held monthly, now being held weekly.
"We do not believe this is predominantly due to increasing volumes of matters going through the courts, but rather a direct result of repeat mentioning of matters due to incomplete briefs of evidence," Mr Mills wrote.
Chief Magistrate Ray Rinaudo said the Chief Magistrate's Office was aware of issues in relation to delays being experienced in Rockhampton Court.
"These concerns have been raised with the officer-in-charge of Police Prosecutions in Brisbane," he said.
"The Chief Magistrate understands that these issues will be addressed with local prosecutors in Rockhampton to ensure matters are progressed in a timely matter."