The Dunedin District Court is holding its first jury trial in
the city since historic courthouse was mostly closed 14
Ministry of Justice concerns over the stability of the tower
in an earthquake drove the decision to close the section of
building containing the High Court and another jury
That left the city without a jury court and, for most of last
year, Dunedin jury cases were held in Invercargill.
But yesterday, for the first time since mid-December, 2011, a
jury was chosen to hear a trial in Dunedin.
The hearing is in a courtroom which, until last year, was
used for Family Court hearings. After the relocation of the
Family Court to John Wickliffe House, the High and district
courts used the room for non-jury cases.
Inadequate seating in the room meant most of the prospective
jurors had to stand before and during the jury selection
process yesterday and Judge Michael Crosbie apologised to
prospective jurors for the conditions.
He told the jurors ''a bit of a number eight-wire approach''
had been taken in the preparation of the room for a jury
trial. He also said it was hoped more jury cases would be
able to be heard in Dunedin this year. The ministry was
building ''a temporary facility'' for the court in a building
in High St.
A spokesman said work was ''progressing on schedule and we
are looking to be ready to start jury trials at High St in