Courtrooms will be upgraded, and more Sheriff’s Officers and Judge’s Associates recruited, to manage and accommodate large multi-defendant trials as part of a multi-million-dollar funding boost for Operation Ironside.
Three courtrooms in the Sir Samuel Way Building will undergo expansion works to increase capacity and be equipped to deal with one of the largest series of criminal trials in South Australia’s history.
The refurbishments in Courtrooms 8, 18 and 19 will ensure sufficient room for multiple accused in the dock – up to seven defendants at a time – and more space for legal representation at the bar table, ahead of dozens of Operation Ironside-related trials expected to be heard over the coming years.
The Courts Administration Authority (CAA) will use existing funding to carry out modifications to bar tables, defendant and jury docks. The works are set to start next month and be completed by the end of the year.
More than 80 South Australians have been arrested and charged in connection with Operation Ironside, in one of the most complex law enforcement operations in the nation’s history.
The State Budget allocated $8.8 million over the next four years to help the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the CAA deal effectively with these matters as they progress through the courts.
Included in that figure is $6 million that will be invested to enable the DPP to hire additional staff as needed to manage the increased workload resulting from Operation Ironside. These cases require significant legal resources in a dedicated capacity for extended periods of time.
The CAA will use the remaining $2.8 million to boost security arrangements by hiring extra Sheriff’s Officers as required, with scope to recruit more Judge’s Associates to ensure an efficient and consistent approach to these matters when they reach trial.
Operation Ironside matters will involve a large volume of evidence, such as encrypted ANOM messages, and this funding will support judicial officers in dealing with common issues of admissibility of evidence, including expert evidence.
Attributable to Kyam Maher
A year on, Operation Ironside remains one of the biggest and most significant law enforcement operations ever carried out across the country.
These are incredibly serious matters, with individuals facing charges that include conspiracy to commit murder, participating in a criminal organisation, money laundering, trafficking in large commercial and commercial quantities of methylamphetamine, fantasy, MDMA, cocaine, heroin and cannabis, and firearms offences.
Our Government’s near-$9 million investment will assist both the DPP and the courts to carry out their important roles and ensure they have the resources they need while facing such a significant task.
Courtroom upgrades in the Sir Samuel Way Building to accommodate hearings involving multiple defendants will also go a long way in helping the numerous Ironside trials to run as smoothly as possible.