HOW can the Gold Coast – Australia’s sixth largest city – not have its own Supreme Court?
It’s the question being asked by top Gold Coast lawyer Bruce Simmonds, who says a two week circuit sitting of the Supreme Court on the Coast should be a permanent thing, not just a token sitting.
It’s the first time in more than a decade that the Supreme Court, which deals with the state’s most serious crimes including manslaughters and murders – has sat on the Gold Coast.
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More than 190 cases had to be transfered from Southport Magistrates Court to the Supreme Court in Brisbane last financial year alone.
Mr Simmonds says it’s ridiculous that a city the size of the Gold Coast was still being treated like an outpost of the Capital.
Mr Simmonds, of Parker Simmonds Solicitors & Lawyers, said Rockhampton, which has a population about the size of a single Gold Coast suburb, has a Supreme Court Judge to cover Central Queensland.
“Meanwhile the Gold Coast, with a population heading toward 600,000 and the sixth largest city in Australia, is regarded as a provincial hick cousin of Brisbane in terms of the allocation of court resources,” Mr Simmonds said.
Local lawyers have long been pressuring the State for a permanent Supreme Court on the Coast.
Mr Simmonds said Gold Coasters needing to attend Supreme Court matters had to travel the M1 to Brisbane which involved considerably more time and expense than if their matter was heard locally.
He added that, while the lack of a permanent Supreme Court circuit on the Coast was “galling”, Gold Coasters were being treated even worse with Family Court sittings.
The Family Court sits in Brisbane, Cairns, Rockhampton and Townsville, but not the Gold Coast.
“Again, local people have to go to Brisbane for most Family Court hearings because we only get a handful of Federal Circuit Court hearings allocated per year,” Mr Simmonds said.
“Gold Coasters are poorly treated by the government with court services.
“If we can hold a Commonwealth Games we surely shouldn’t have to be a satellite outpost of Brisbane with our courts.”