21 Jul 2008

District courts begin hearing 'P' cases

9:56 pm on 21 July 2008

Changes to the way the courts deal with methamphetamine offences have taken effect, in a move aimed at cutting a backlog of such cases.

Courts Minister Rick Barker says methamphetamine charges can now be dealt with by district courts instead of the High Court.

In May, 245 cases were waiting to be heard in the High Court, almost half of them methamphetamine related.

Mr Barker says it will not mean they are treated any less seriously because they are class A drug offences. Sentencing options have not changed.

All class A drug cases will still go before the High Court, but those considered less complex can then be passed to district courts.