1 Jul 2010

Greater use of video links in court approved

8:01 pm on 1 July 2010

Parliament has unanimously passed legislation that will allow the courts to make greater use of video links.

The bill had initially been opposed by Labour, the Greens and the Maori Party but late on Wednesday night the Justice Minister, Simon Power, introduced a last-minute amendment giving defendants the right to be physically present in court for a trial to determine guilt or innocence.

The change satisfied the bill's critics, and it passed unopposed on Thursday afternoon.

Mr Power says video links will minimise some of the costs and risks associated with transporting prisoners, and will make the justice system more efficient.

Initially, he says, the technology's use is likely to be focused on procedural matters.