COURT: This is what court sittings will look like now.
COURT: This is what court sittings will look like now.

STAY AT HOME: What it means for court sittings

THE usually crowded Roma courthouse will be empty at the court sitting next Tuesday, with defendants now being told to stay at home.

Magistrates Saggers will no longer have to hear car trouble excuses from absent defendants as he sits alone at the Roma Court House on Monday for the Mitchell court sitting and the rest of the week for the Roma court hearings.

Registrar of the Roma Magistrates, District and Supreme Courts Debbie Gilby said while the cases will still be heard, it will be done so by phone, video link or on the papers for Roma, Mitchell, Charleville, Cunnamulla, Tambo and Quilpie court sittings.

“At this point everything is being adjourned to July 6, 7 and 8 unless it’s a simple matter and can be dealt with on the day,” Ms Gilby said.

“We don’t want anyone to physically appear. If anyone shows up on the day, they can leave their name and details and court will ring them.”

Any new matters will be handed a Notice to Appear from police with a future court date and bail set for a minimum of three months.

While Ms Gilby never imagined at the start of the year that court sittings would play out this way, she said the courthouse has been busier than ever.

“It’s been hectic over the past couple of weeks,” she said.

“It’s not just court work, now that the JP in the community has closed, we’ve had people coming in for that or maybe it’s now that they’ve got more time on their hands to get this kind of business done.

“We’re kind of an essential service and this situation isn’t going away so we’re staying busy.

“Who knows what’s going to happen though? We might have to end up closing our front doors and working behind the scenes to keep everything rolling.”

Ms Gilby says while it’s hard to predict what the coming months will bring, specifically in the case of District Court in May they are taking all the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of the public in light of COVID-19 restrictions.

“We are just going to try our best to stay up to date for everything,” she said.

“With new matters listed every month and having to adjourn the majority of these for three months, at the end of the year I expect we will be very busy and trying to catch up.”

Court Attendance Information Sheet

  • On and from 30 March 2020 there will be no physical appearances in any matter except with leave of the Court.
  • All matters will be conducted by telephone, video conferencing, or on the papers.
  • Parties may contact the Court by telephone (4578 8800), or by email to Courthouse.Roma@justice.qld.gov.au
  • Any documents to be relied upon may be emailed to the court.

The following proceedings that will continue to be heard:

1. Overnight custody arrests for both adults and children

2. Urgent Domestic Violence applications

3. Domestic Violence applications currently before the court that have not been considered

4. Urgent child protection applications

5. Bail applications, including applications to vary for both adults and children

6. Sentences where it is likely the defendant will be released from custody for both adults and children

7. Committal and summary mention proceedings where the defendant is in custody for both adults and children

8. Urgent QCAT applications

9. Applications under the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000

10. Civil applications dealt with on the papers

11. Other matters where leave is given by the court where delay would cause substantial prejudice to a party.

Currently Listed Matters

Criminal matters:

  • All matters currently before the court will be adjourned on the papers to a date to be fixed for a period not less than two months. Bail will be enlarged and Notices of the adjournment date will be posted or emailed to the parties and their legal representative.

Child Protection matters:

  • All matters currently before the court will be adjourned on the papers without appearance to a date to be fixed. Current orders in place will continue for the period of the adjournment. A Notice of the adjournment date will be posted or emailed to the parties and their legal representative.

Civil matters:

  • All civil matters will be dealt with on the papers.
  • Parties are required to file and exchange written submissions in affidavit form and supporting material five days prior to any adjourned hearing date.
  • If a party is concerned they may be substantially prejudiced by their application being determined on the papers, they may make application by email to courthouse.roma@justice.qld.gov.au to obtain leave of the court to have their matter determined in person.