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The Victorian State Government has announced plans to retain a county Koori court beyond its pilot stage, following an evaluation report.
Koori courts are a division of the Magistrates' Court of Victoria, and sentence Indigenous defendants. The first county Koori court was established in 2009 in the Latrobe Valley, and allowed sentencing to occur in the presence of Elders, respected persons, and family, in a less formal atmosphere than a traditional court. It has since been operating since then as a four-year trial program.
The program's continuation was announcement by the State Government on 24 June and confirmed by Attorney-General Robert Clark. This announcement was welcomed by legal groups. Law Institute of Victoria president, Michael Holcroft, said the strength of the court was that it involved the Indigenous community, 'and that's really powerful'.
The evaluation found that of 31 people sentenced by the court, only one was found to have reoffended. The report found that the county court worked as a deterrent for ongoing criminal behaviour, and achieved its core aim to provide 'fair, culturally relevant, and appropriate justice' for the Indigenous community.
Source: The age
Koori Courts Unit
7/436 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne Vic 3000
Ph: (03) 9603 9364
Fax: (03) 9603 9464