Courtrooms will be upgraded and more staff recruited to manage the multi-defendant trials flowing from the Operation Ironside arrests in South Australia.
Three courtrooms in Adelaide’s Sir Samuel Way Building will be expanded to increase capacity and equipped to deal with one of the largest series of criminal trials in the state’s history.
The refurbishments will ensure sufficient room in the dock for up to seven defendants at a time and more space for legal representation at the bar table.
Work will start next month and be completed by the end of 2022, ahead of dozens of Operation Ironside-related trials expected to be heard over the coming years.
More than 80 South Australians have been arrested and charged in connection with the crackdown on organised crime in one of the most complex law enforcement operations Australia has ever undertaken.
The state budget also allocated $8.8 million over the next four years to help the Director of Public Prosecutions and court officials deal effectively with the matters.
From those funds, the DPP will get $6 million to hire more staff to manage the increased workload, with the Ironside cases requiring significant legal resources in a dedicated capacity for extended periods.
The remaining $2.8 million will be used to boost security arrangements by hiring extra sheriff’s officers, and to fund more judges’ associate positions.
Attorney-General Kyam Maher said those arrested face charges that include conspiracy to commit murder; participating in a criminal organisation; money laundering; trafficking in large commercial quantities of methylamphetamine, fantasy, MDMA, cocaine, heroin and cannabis; and firearms offences.
“Our government’s investment will assist both the DPP and the courts to carry out their important roles and ensure they have the resources they need while facing such a significant task,” he said.
“Courtroom upgrades to accommodate hearings involving multiple defendants will go a long way in helping the numerous Ironside trials to run as smoothly as possible.”