THE lead-up to any election is the perfect opportunity to lobby a government for action.
So revelations of long delays at the Bathurst Local Court could not have been more timely.
The Western Advocate reported this week that court users were becoming increasingly fed-up with long delays being brought about by too many matters to be heard and too few allocated hours to hear them.
On Monday, there were 126 matters listed in the local court, clearly far too many to be properly handled in the time allowed.
On the same day there were about 80 matters listed at Orange.
The difference is not that Bathurst crime is spiralling out of control; rather, the problem is that Bathurst only has a magistrate appointed for three days each week to get through the caseload.
And so it appears the solution is simple.
There have naturally been calls for a full-time magistrate to be appointed in Bathurst and the state government would do well to consider such a move.
Labor’s candidate for Bathurst Beau Riley is, not surprisingly, one of the loudest voices advocating for change.
Given he is taking on an incumbent MP with a healthy margin, you would expect any opposition candidate to seize an opportunity like this.
But Mr Riley’s work as a police prosecutor means he has had first-hand experience of the delays in the Bathurst court and he brings to the argument more credibility than might otherwise have been the case.
Curiously, it was just a couple of months ago that the state government announced with some fanfare that it was appointing a full-time district court judge for the Bathurst and Orange circuit.
It was an appointment that was naturally well received by the local communities, but whether a full-time District Court judge was the most pressing need might well be up for debate.
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What is clear is that a full-time magistrate for Bathurst would have an immediate impact on the timely delivery of justice, which must be a cornerstone of any legal system.
As the old adage goes, justice delayed is justice denied – and not only for the accused.
Victims forced to wait months to have their cases finalised are also put through unnecessary anguish.
So now it’s over to the candidates. We look forward to seeing your next move.