Magistrates Court error sees prisoner set free without attending scheduled Supreme Court appearance first

Attorney-General Vanessa Goodwin has expressed her “displeasure” at a Magistrates Court error earlier this week that saw an individual released from prison without attending a scheduled appearance at the Supreme Court first.

“I have been advised by the Magistrates Court of a failure to issue a warrant of imprisonment following a decision of the Court to remand a defendant in custody,” Dr Goodwin said.

“I have written to the Secretary of the Department of Justice expressing my displeasure at this error and making it clear that all warrants should be processed on the same business day on which decisions are made.”

Administrator of Courts Penelope Ikedife announced on Thursday afternoon that an “administrative error” resulted in the failure to issue a remand warrant, and that the Magistrates Court “regrets” the error.

The individual in question was serving a sentence in Risdon Prison, however was to be held on remand until appearing before the Supreme Court on different charges.

The error saw the individual released from custody at the end of their sentence before the scheduled appearance.

Dr Goodwin said she had asked for “urgent advice” on what action has been taken to address processing errors at the Magistrates’ Court.

She said the Court is working with the Department of Justice to implement recommendations from the recently released KPMG report.

“This incident also confirms the need to implement the KPMG recommendation announced by the Government last week to amend the Sentencing Act, which will ensure simple language in sentence orders and a consistent approach to the terms of warrants,” she said.

“The Government will introduce a Bill to amend the Sentencing Act to action this recommendation urgently.”

Dr Goodwin said the issue was “in no way” the fault of the Tasmania Prison Service.