19 Mar 2020

NZ courts to suspend 238 district and high court trials

9:07 pm on 19 March 2020

New Zealand courts are to suspend 238 jury trials for nine weeks from Monday due to the Covid-19 coronavirus.

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Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

The judicial office for senior courts said that included 216 district court jury trials which had firm dates, plus 208 backup trials.

Twenty two high court trials have been suspended in Auckland, the Waikato and Bay of Plenty, Wellington and Christchurch.

A spokesperson said the suspension period overlapped with the Easter recess, resulting in the need to re-schedule an estimated 59 weeks of High Court trials.

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Two jury trials that had already started in Tauranga and Whanganui would continue next week.

Courts of New Zealand said judges were working with the Ministry of Justice, police and corrections to adapt core processes, including the running of list courts to better protect the health of all those taking part.

The aim was to limit the co-mingling of large groups of court participants in confined spaces.

Cleaning and hygiene measures were also being reviewed to reflect current knowledge about minimising the opportunity for transmission.

For this reason, participants in court proceedings were asked to limit the number of support people accompanying them to court.

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