Opposition justice minister David Janetzki and Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan outside Proserpine Court House.
Opposition justice minister David Janetzki and Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan outside Proserpine Court House. PETER CARRUTHERS

Concerns over Proserpine Court House crowding raised

A LAWYER with 42 years of local experience has raised concerns about the mounting congestion at Proserpine Court House.

John Ryan, a lawyer with Whitsunday Law, told the Whitsunday Coast Guardian problems of overcrowding had become worse.

"The congestion up there on an ordinary court day has to be seen to be believed," he said.

"It's totally inadequate. The hallways are chock a block, there are people milling outside.''

Mr Ryan said it was noisy and inconvenient for practitioners trying to have conversations with their clients.

"It's literally bursting at the seams."

Mr Ryan said the best solution was to build a new courthouse next to the Whitsunday Police Station and keep the Proserpine chambers for civil and QCAT hearings.

The issue of ailing justice infrastructure was raised when LNP police spokesman Trevor Watts visited the Whitsundays last week and it was flagged again this week when justice spokesman David Janetzki was in town.

Mr Janetzki, the Member for Toowoomba South, continued the criticism of State Government funding in the Whitsundays.

He said he had heard from lawyers using the 50-year-old Proserpine court each week who raised concerns about meeting clients on the street.

"To a degree that is happening and will continue to happen," he said. The recent annexation of the courthouse meeting room by the Department of Traffic and Main Roads for use as a customer service hub had added to the problem.

He added the congestion was having a negative impact on the delivery of justice in the Whitsunday.

At the last State Budget money was allocated for upgrades to courts in Beenleigh, Rockhampton and Townsville but the Whitsundays missed out.

The 51-year-old Proserpine Police Station was the subject of a Question on Notice asked by the Member for Whitsunday, Jason Costigan, of Police Minister Mark Ryan last month.

Mr Ryan responded by saying the station "provides adequate space, design and capacity" and there were no plans for an upgrade.

Lawyer John Ryan said people in custody were housed in cells at the Whitsunday Police Station as the Proserpine cells were unsuitable.