Court Martial and Summary Appeal Court: Current COVID-19 Protocol
Chief Judge/Judge Advocate General Kevin J Riordan ONZM
9 June 2020
1. This protocol outlines how the Court Martial and Summary Appeal Court of New Zealand will operate at Alert Level 1. It comes into force with immediate effect.
2. This Alert Level 1 Protocol will apply throughout New Zealand. In the event that any region or place in which a division of the Court Martial or Summary Appeal Court is required to sit returns to Alert Level 2, Alert Level 3 or Alert Level 4, the protocol previously promulgated in respect of that alert level will apply with immediate effect unless modified or repealed by the Chief Judge.
3. This protocol may be reviewed to the extent considered necessary by the Chief Judge of the Court. The presiding judge of each sitting retains the power to adjust the procedure of the Court when it is in the interests of justice to do so. This enables the Courts in the military jurisdiction to react swiftly to any change in circumstances that may arise.
4. At Alert Level 1, the Court Martial and Summary Appeal Court will each carry out all of their usual scheduled work and will return to normal operation.
5. All accused and other participants will appear in person for all scheduled appearances during the Alert Level 1 period, unless directed to appear by AVL. Sittings of the Court will be open to the public unless otherwise directed, in accordance with law, by the presiding judge.
6. The use of remote participation will remain available for use on application in appropriate cases, such as purely procedural matters, to be determined by the judge on a case-by-case basis.
7. If counsel, or other persons required or proposing to attend a hearing (for example, accused persons, witnesses or support persons) are unwell, they should not attend Court. If this applies, the presiding judge is to be advised so that alternative arrangements for the appearance may be made.
8. Any concerns about health and safety practices in the Court Martial and Summary Appeal Court should be raised with the Registrar in the first instance. A record of all attendances will be maintained to assist with contact tracing, should that become necessary.
9. All sittings will comply with the relevant guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health in respect of hygiene requirements. The Registrar will ensure that the most current requirements are advised to the camp, base or ship in which the trial is to be held.
10. It remains possible that a new outbreak of COVID-19 community transmission may be confirmed within the location in which a division of the Court Martial and Summary Appeal Court is sitting. In that event the Court will rely on official public health advice. Steps may be taken to reduce in-person attendances at the Court to help protect those working or appearing there. The extent of any reduction will depend on the circumstances and official advice or notices.
11. If a location is required to return to Alert Level 2, 3 or 4, the military courts are now better equipped for remote participation. Where practicable and appropriate, a court could conduct priority proceedings and additional types of work by remote participation.
12. During Alert Level 1, rostering of judges and scheduling of work will be determined by the Chief Judge of the Court Martial or Summary Appeal Court.