Judge: Courts still not ready for jury trials

A Sunshine Coast judge has said that courts are still not ready to provide listings for jury trials.

Maroochydore District Court Judge Gary Long, in a recently published written decision, said that, due to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the court was not able to provide a listing for a jury trial that could be heard as early as later this month.

Judge Long made the comments while granting a judge-alone trial to a man, identified only as NGK, accused of domestic strangulation, saying that jury trials were not likely to be made available for a “matter of months rather than weeks”.

“The application (for a judge-only trial) is premised on it being made at the request of (NGK) in circumstances…of ongoing restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Judge Long said. “The court is not presently able to provide a listing for a jury trial, which position is expected to remain for at least a matter of months rather than weeks.

“And more particularly, it was specifically noted that the trial, were it to be heard without a jury, could be listed in the week commencing 27 July 2020.”

Judge Long concluded: “In this case, there is no contention raised otherwise, nor any basis for concluding other than that the interests of justice are appropriately served by the making of a no jury order.”

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