New judges part of ‘emergency measures’ to address backlog
The NSW government has appointed two District Court judges as part of a $20 million funding package to stem the growing number of criminal cases waiting to be heard.
Siobhan Herbert and John Pickering SC were announced as new District Court judges by Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton on Monday.
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“[These new judges will] enable the District Court to schedule 126 additional sitting weeks to provide much-needed relief for courts experiencing delays in regional and metropolitan areas,” Ms Upton said.
Some of the locations to benefit from the increase in sitting weeks include Parramatta, Goulburn, Albury, Bega, Griffith and Queanbeyan.
The package will also fund a range of other initiatives such as targeted trial callovers to bring parties together to resolve matters earlier, additional public defenders and initial plea discussions to identify early guilty pleas.
“The NSW government will track the benefit of these emergency measures and make sure the extra resources continue to be targeted appropriately to address pressures in the District Court,” the NSW government said in a release.
Mr Pickering is a former Deputy and Acting Director of Public Prosecutions who has prosecuted matters in the Supreme and District Courts.
His notable work includes proceedings arising out of a series of murders committed by Adnan Darwiche and his associates in 2003.
He was admitted as a solicitor in NSW in 1993 and as a barrister in 2001, and he has been a senior counsel since 2012.
Ms Herbert worked at the NSW Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, appearing in many Supreme and District Court jury trials.
Since being appointed as a Crown Prosecutor in 2002, Ms Herbert has also appeared in appeals before the Court of Criminal Appeal.