Criminal matters will no longer be heard in the iconic East Maitland Court House with cases being moved to Newcastle.
A spokesperson from the Office of Chief Justice told the Mercury a decision had been made to move district court matters from East Maitland to a new court precinct in Newcastle.
“It was always the intention to cease district court sittings at East Maitland once the new 10 court complex at Newcastle opens in 2015,” the spokesperson said.
“A decision to move district court matters to Newcastle ahead of schedule has been made, partly as a result of recent building works at Maitland, which has seen district court matters transferred to Newcastle.”
Construction of the $94 million Newcastle court complex is under way.
The seven-storey building, at the intersection of Hunter and Burwood streets, will house seven court rooms and two tribunal rooms.
The spokesperson said that judicial resources would be best used in the new court precinct.
“From an efficiency point of view, judicial resources are better utilised at venues where there are multiple courtrooms and where
necessary court equipment such as CCTV is in place,” the spokesperson said.
“The distance between East Maitland and Newcastle is 30 minutes and court users should benefit from the new state-of-the-art facilities.”
Completed in 1860, the historic John Street courthouse has seen some of Australia’s most hardened criminals including serial killer Ivan Milat.
COURT HOUSE’S RICH HISTORY: Weekend Magazine, Friday.