PEOPLE found guilty of a summary offence in the NSW Local Court will be charged a levy to help pay for the cost of their court case.
Kiama MP Gareth Ward said the levy would be mandatory for most convictions in the local court.
“Magistrates currently have discretion to order a convicted offender to pay court costs but the court costs are applied inconsistently so therefore imposing a mandatory levy will improve consistency,” he said.
“I believe people convicted of criminal offences should make a contribution towards the cost of bringing them to justice.”
NSW Attorney General, Greg Smith SC has introduced legislation in the NSW Parliament to make the levy mandatory, requiring offenders to pay $83 per conviction.
“This cost covers a proportion of the total cost of running courts and the justice system,” Mr Ward said.
“The levy will apply to most people convicted of a criminal offence in the Local Court, but exempts those convicted in the Drug Court and Children’s Court, and offenders sentenced to prison, as prisoners have little opportunity to pay off such debts.
“It will also apply to some people given a section 10 order, who are found guilty, but not convicted. It will not apply to section 10 orders where the court dismisses the charge, except where the offence is punishable by imprisonment.”
Offenders who say they cannot afford the levy, can apply to pay by instalments, while others may also apply to work off their debt through a Work and Development Order.
“This levy will be reviewed after the first 12 months of operation,” Mr Ward said.