Calls for overhaul of Vic justice system

Victoria's Law Reform Commission has recommended changes to make the legal system more efficient.
Victoria's Law Reform Commission has recommended changes to make the legal system more efficient.

There are calls for Victoria to scrap some pre-trial hearings for accused criminals to make the justice system fairer and more efficient.

Victoria's Law Reform Commission has recommended scrapping committals hearings, where evidence is tested before a magistrate who then decides whether to sent someone to trial.

The commission wants this, and procedural hearings known as committal mentions, to be rolled into a single court date.

These changes would help make the system more efficient, and spare victims and witnesses the trauma of being questioned multiple times by lawyers, the commission says.

It also wants prosecutors to stop slapping an accused person with unnecessary or duplicate charges, which are often dropped if they plead or are rolled up into a single charge.

To address this, the commission wants the Director of Public Prosecutions to give police informants binding instructions about charges or review them within seven days.

It also wants funding for the DPP and Victoria Legal Aid boosted, so experienced lawyers can be brought in at the earliest possible stage and remain responsible for the case until its conclusion.

Australian Associated Press