Chief magistrate presses on with court changes
NSW Chief Magistrate Judge Graeme Henson will push ahead with plans to remove Local Court sittings from Woy Woy Court House and turn it into a full-time Children's Court.
A written statement from the Chief Magistrate's office said: "After carefully reviewing feedback from local stakeholders, the Chief Magistrate will move Local Court sittings to Gosford, freeing up Woy Woy Court House to become a full time Children's Court for the Central Coast.
"The Children's Court will continue to have one list day a month at Wyong, however, all defended proceedings will be dealt with at Woy Woy," the statement from Judge Henson said.
"It has long been the philosophy of the Children's Court that, wherever possible, children should not have their matters dealt with at Local Court buildings to ensure their safety and reduce the stress and trauma of having to appear in court.
"The Local Court currently sits at Woy Woy one day a week to do list work.
"Defended proceedings have, for many years, been listed at and dealt with at Gosford Local Court.
"The caseload at Woy Woy has been in decline for many years.
"In 2009, there were 1600 new matters commenced at Woy Woy.
"In 2015 that figure had dropped to 1010.
"It should be noted that Woy Woy is just over 12 kilometres from Gosford.
"The average train trip or motor vehicle trip is 15 minutes.
"In other changes, the Chief Magistrate has increased Local Court sitting days at Wyong from 32 days per month to 40 days per month to deal with the increased workload.
"Local Court sittings have also increased at Gosford to allow for two magistrates to sit full time at this location," Judge Henson's statement said.
Media statement, 3 Feb 2017
Georgie Louden, NSW Justice