NZ to get its first sexual violence court in wake of Roastbusters case

New Zealand is to get its first sexual violence court as part of a reform of the justice system in the wake of the Roastbusters case.


The pilot district court scheme will kick off in Whangarei and Auckland, with the first cases coming to trial in the middle of next year.

The courts are designed to make the justice system gentler on victims and speed up proceedings. At the moment an estimated 90 per cent of attacks go unreported.

The trial judges will be specially trained.

It will covers all serious sexual violence cases to be heard by a jury, such as those involving rape and other sexual violation, incest, sexual grooming, indecent assault, possession of publications that depict child exploitation, and intimate visual recordings made without consent.

It will not include sexual violence related to murder or manslaughter offences.

The pilot will last up to two-and-a-half years and cost around $300,000 a year.

Chief Judge Jan-Marie Doogue said all participants "can rest assured there will be no departure from Bill of Rights principles relating to a fair trial."

Any move to a non-adversarial or inquisitorial system would require "fundamental" law change.

Justice Minister Amy Adams said: "Sexual offences victims have been through a harrowing ordeal. We need victims to have confidence in the justice system. If we can resolve their cases more quickly, they can move on with their recovery sooner."

The recommendation was one of 82 made by the Law Commission last year in the wake of the notorious teen sex case.

A group of young men were accused of intoxicating and assaulting young women, but no charges were ever laid.