New SA law to ensure Nunga Court's future

·1-min read

The future of South Australia's Nunga Court, which gives Aboriginal communities a voice in the criminal justice system, will be ensured through legislation to go before state parliament.

Established in 1999, the court is the oldest of its kind in the country but its operation has not previously been protected in law.

The Nunga Court aims to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the sentencing process for relatively minor matters.

It provides an opportunity for participants to discuss the offending and sentencing with a view to increasing the confidence of Aboriginal communities in the criminal justice system.

Community elders or respected persons sit at the same table as the magistrate to advise on relevant cultural and community matters to assist in the sentencing process.

Defendants before the Nunga Court must have pleaded guilty to charges that can be finalised in the Magistrates Court.

Attorney-General Kyam Maher said by legislating to ensure the future of the court, the government had recognised its importance to Aboriginal communities.

"By enshrining the Nunga Court in legislation, we are protecting this important justice mechanism and ensuring Aboriginal communities continue to have a say in our criminal justice system," he said.

Mr Maher will introduce the bill on Thursday.