Statement from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and Chief Judge of the County Court.
4 May, 2021
Earlier this year, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the Chief Judge of the County Court announced that criminal jury trials would progressively resume in a number of regional courts across Victoria in coming months.
A County Court jury will be empanelled in Geelong this week, marking the first criminal trial in regional Victoria since the suspension of criminal jury trials as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be followed mid-May by the first Supreme Court criminal jury trial in Geelong.
Resumption is planned for further locations as follows:
- Ballarat: 17 May
- La Trobe Valley (Morwell): 24 May
- Warrnambool: 24 May
- Shepparton: 31 May
- Mildura: 31 May
- Wodonga: 7 June
The Courts have applied similar processes employed in the COVID-safe resumption of criminal jury trials in Melbourne, adapted to local conditions.
The plans ensure public health requirements are met while addressing the needs of regional communities in accessing all Victorian courts.
The Courts have already resumed in-person hearings in non-jury criminal and civil matters in several regional court locations where Supreme and County Court matters are heard as well as continuing hearings using remote technology where appropriate.
With the recent further relaxation of restrictions work is underway for resumption of jury trials in additional regional courts.
Communications and Engagement Director
t: 0429 815 763
t: 0417 423 063