WA's top magistrate critical of commisioner's call for longer hours

By Olivia Collings|04 March 2013

The West Australian police commissioner wants magistrates to work longer hours, but the state's top magistrate is having none of it.

The West Australian police commissioner wants magistrates to work longer hours, but the state’s top magistrate is having none of it. 

Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan, suggested magistrates work longer hours so they are available to process bail applications over the phone at any time. 

O’Callaghan said under the current system, police are holding people in custody and transporting them long distances to courts unnecessarily. 

But WA’s chief magistrate, Steven Heath, said night courts do not sit anywhere in Australia and would not work in WA, given its small population. 

Heath said many magistrates already sit on Saturdays to help process accused people who have been refused bail by police. 

Heath said if the commissioner believes these people should get bail at court, it means police officers should be granting bail in the first instance.

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Also in WA courts, an associate of a district court judge has been charged by the state’s corruption watchdog.

It’s alleged the 29-year-old woman used the district court’s computer system to access the personal details of people she knew.

The alleged offences occurred between February and May. She is due to appear in the Perth Magistrates Court on Friday

WA's top magistrate critical of commisioner's call for longer hours
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