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Funding for court security ‘inadequate’

Funding for court security ‘inadequate’

The NSW Bar Association's acting president has called on the state government to ensure adequate funding is provided for court security, following the escape of a prisoner from a court complex last week.

Noel Hutley SC, acting president of the association, said the escape of a prisoner from the Downing Centre court complex last week highlights the lack of adequate funding for security arrangements in NSW courts.

“The Bar Association has consistently advocated for the proper resourcing of the Sheriff’s Office to ensure that we have effective security in courts,” Mr Hutley said.

“Rather than focus upon potentially dangerous solutions, such as the recent protocol on the carrying of guns in court by police officers, which raise concerns for the safety of judicial officers and parties, the state government should ensure that adequate resources are allocated to the Sheriff to fund the necessary improvements.”

Mr Hutley said statements from the Minister for Corrective Services and the media that the presiding judge in the matter ordered that the prisoner’s handcuffs be removed in court were incorrect.

“The removal of handcuffs was done by the corrective services officers and is standard practice in courtrooms. Corrective services officers were in attendance in the courtroom at the time. The real issue is the inadequate resources being devoted to security in our court,” he said.

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