Northern Outlook : October 6th 2012
Saturday, October 6, 2012 NOR TH CANTER BUR Y'S BEST READ COMMUNIT Y NEWSPAPER WEEKEND EDITION Ph: 03 313 5335 | Mob: 0274 420 004 202a King Street, Rangiora | email@example.com Your local specialist for all automotive glass repairs and replacement • Car Screens • Trucks Buses & Coaches • Mirrors • Boats • Stone Chip Repair • Earthmoving Vehicles • Farm Vehicles • Caravans North Canterbury Glass & Auto Glass Limited Rangiora Auto Glass a Subsidiary of 4638856AC SIGNING UP Richie for Rangiora, Page 3 SEED TO MOUTH Recognition for preschool, Page 2 FINDING NEO Welcome to the world Page 6 Court fate uncertain By RACHEL MACDONALD A reprieve is better than being hanged -- but we are still on death row.'' Rangiora lawyer John Brandts-Giesen, reflecting on the future of the town's court services. CONTINUED Page 3 THE FUTURE of the Rangiora court remains uncertain following a Jus- tice Ministry review last week of 14 district facilities nationwide. With some of those buildings closing and some having their services scaled back, only North Canterbury has been left in limbo as the ministry tosses up whether Canter- bury's court services should remain central- ised in Christchurch -- as they have been since the Rangiora courthouse was shut suddenly on November 30, 2011, after being considered earthquake-prone. Prominent North Canterbury lawyer John Brandts-Giesen said the reprieve was better than being hanged -- but we are still on death row''. Courts Minister Chester Borrows has pinned the sweeping changes to the district court system on crime statistics being at a 30-year low, a drop in the number of alleged offenders appearing before a judge, and the need to modernise court services. "With crime falling and the number of people coming to court decreasing, we are taking the opportunity to improve how the 63 district courts are administered and to modernise services so they are more in line with public expectations,'' he said. Our small courts are spending more and more of their time sitting empty and the Criminal Procedure Act, which comes into force next July, will remove another 31,000 court events each year.'' He also said that most criminal case files will be moved onto a new electronic system from July next year, saving more than 90,000 hours' labour per year. The result is that from early next year, nine courts will be used only for hearings, rather than being open five days a week, and four will be disestablished. Rangiora, the catchment criminal court for North Canterbury, remains a quandary. The courthouse has a Category II Historic Places Trust classification and strengthening the 125-year-old building is not straightforward,'' Mr Burrows said. However, the demographics of the Can- terbury region are changing as a conse- quence of the 2011 earthquake and we need to understand how this will affect the demand for courts in the region.'' The ministry will carry out further engin- eering assessments of the courthouse and a more detailed assessment of demand. It will also consider if there are any suit- able options for holding hearings locally in the interim. This work will be completed in the first half of next year. Mr Brandts-Giesen said the announce- ment was welcome. We hope that common sense will prevail. Still of concern, though, is the reduction nationwide of court managers, as announced by Minister Borrows. It's a wrap for cadet SOUTH ISLAND REP: Practising her first aid skills on her brother, Peter, is Rangiora's Sasha Seatter, the new St John regional cadet of the year. Story page 2.
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