30 Jul 2013

Nauru struggling with post-riot criminal cases, says chief justice

4:29 pm on 30 July 2013

Nauru is struggling to cope with the challenge presented to the court system by the number of criminal proceedings that have followed the riot at the island's asylum seekers' camp.

At least 150 people were involved in the disturbances and fire at the Australian run Regional Processing Centre that caused an estimated at 55 million US dollars of damage.

The chief justice in Nauru, Geoffrey Eames, says discussions will have to be held with Australia over the costs involved and how to deal with this number of cases, given the limited number of legal professionals, holding cells and just one courtroom.

Justice Eames says he couldn't rule out the possibility of cases being moved offshore

"There's plainly a whole range of considerations which would be relevant to be discussed in this context and that's one option that might be considered"

Justice Eames says two Australian lawyers have offered their services pro bono, but there is still the questions of expenses and the very limited legal aid availalbe in Nauru is likely to go to local practitioners.