Ombudsman to probe court info refusal

The Dunedin courthouse. Photo by ODT.
The Dunedin courthouse. Photo by ODT.
The Office of the Ombudsman plans to investigate the Ministry of Justice over its refusal to release information relating to Dunedin's courthouse.

The Otago Daily Times complained to the watchdog after the ministry blanked out passages from briefings to Justice Minister Amy Adams which may have been useful in discovering why the strengthening project appears to be delayed.

''We have assessed your complaint and consider that an Ombudsman may be able to assist,'' a spokesman said.

However, an investigator was yet to be assigned.

''Unfortunately, due to the volume of complaints this office is managing, we are experiencing delays in progressing some of the complaints before us and, in particular, delays in being able to allocate complaints to investigators,'' the spokesman said.

Ministry officials deny the project is delayed, but in August 2013, then courts minister Chester Burrows said the ''top priority'' project would require the closure of the courthouse for an ''estimated two years''.

The Ministry of Justice partially closed the building in late 2011, and shifted out completely last month to a temporary facility in High St.

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