31 Jul 2013

Nauru struggles to deal with legal costs after riots

10:30 am on 31 July 2013

Nauru is struggling to deal with the legal aftermath of the riot by asylum seekers that caused an estimated 55 million US dollars of damage.

At least 150 people were involved in the disturbances and fire at Australia's Regional Processing Centre and more than a hundred have been charged.

The Chief Justice, Geoffrey Eames, says the prison and police cells are overcrowded with those detained on bail.

He says Nauru has limited legal aid, only a few lawyers, one prosecutor and one courtroom.

Justice Eames says talks between the two governments are urgently needed if hearings are to be held in a reasonable time.

"It seems to me pretty obvious that the Nauru government couldn't be expected to cope with this and the Australian government would seem to be an obvious avenue for resources. These are matters that have to be dealth with under our constitution both fairly and expeditiously and if that is to occur then much great resources is required than is currently available."

Justice Eames says he can't rule out the possibility of cases being heard offshore.