IT’S less than 100 metres but it took almost two hours for a prisoner to cover the distance between Orange police station and the courthouse last week.
Solicitor Tim Dalla told prosecutor Sergeant Andy Bobin in Orange Local Court on Thursday that he had interviewed his client in custody at the police station, and then gone straight to the courthouse to represent him.
“I left him just after 9am,” Mr Dalla told the court.
The prisoner was eventually led to the dock just before 11am after court staff called the station twice asking for the prisoner to be brought over.
Mr Dalla requested a third call be made.
The court was told there were no suitable police vehicles available to transport the prisoner.
Orange police duty officer Inspector Dave Harvey said that was not the case and police had made every effort to get the man to court as soon as possible.
He said walking prisoners across the road was out of the question.
“We have a number of processes we have to follow,” he said.
Inspector Harvey denied police were to blame for the delay and said although the police station was opposite the courthouse, prisoners could not be escorted across the road by police.
“It is a work, health, safety issue,” he said.
“We have a responsibility to protect the public.”
Mr Dalla raised the issue with Sergeant Bobin who told the solicitor any complaint would have more weight if it came through magistrate Terry Lucas.
Prisoners to be transported to court are put into a vehicle at the rear of the police station, and enter the courthouse through a secure roller door which leads directly to the cells at the courthouse.
“We try to work closely with court staff to ensure prisoners are taken over in a timely manner,” Inspector Harvey said.