Mediation funding received
JUSTICE Mediation is a program that tries to repair the harm done when a crime is committed in a bid to free up the Magistrates Court system.
In May The Observer had reported on Gladstone Magistrate Damian Carroll expressing his disappointment with the Queensland Government for its lack of funding for Gladstone residents for the program.
Mr Carroll had said in open court that it was very unsatisfactory for Gladstone residents not to have justice served in the same way as in the larger cities. At the time funding was available only to Brisbane Central, Holland Park, Inala, Cleveland, Ipswich, Cairns, Townsville, Southport and Coolangatta.
Since then, Gladstone Magistrates Court has received funding for three mediations which gives the defendants the opportunity to try to repair the harm their actions have caused. The program is suited to offences heard in Magistrates Courts, such as stealing, assault, wilful damage and unlawful use of a motor vehicle.
Gladstone solicitor Stacey O'Gorman of Chris Trevor and Associates said the program helped deal with issues outside of the court system.
“It saves the courts time and money and a cost to the community,” she said.
Defendants have to attend court in the first instance and the magistrate can pass an order for the mediation under the Justice Act.
HOW IT WORKS
Face-to-face mediation between complainant and defendant
Voluntary, confidential and free
Complainant can talk about how they were affected by the defendant's actions
Defendant can try to repair the harm their actions haS caused
Friends or relatives may attend to offer support
Specially trained mediators guide the discussion