Albury's courtrooms have gone into virtual lock-down in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Monday's usually hectic list day began with access already significantly cut.
Inside courtroom 2, the home of Albury Local Court, just eight of the 36 seats in the public gallery were available.
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"Do not sit" signs had been placed on the remaining 28 seats. Defence lawyers had to take turns at the bar table.
Everyone coming into the building was screened by NSW Sheriff's officers.
If they were family or other supporters of people who had matters before the court they couldn't enter.
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Defence lawyers - including the NSW Legal Aid solicitors who often have hefty case loads - only had their clients in court if these were sentence matters.
Monday began also with the decision relayed via court registrar Wendy Howard to have all hearing matters adjourned to May 8 for new dates to be set.
But by midday on Tuesday, everything changed yet again.
Ms Howard entered the court to have the latest chief magistrate directive passed on to magistrate Miranda Moody, then prosecutor Sergeant Andrew Pike.
Sentencing matters would be handled by a handful of courts in Sydney and five in regional areas, including Wagga, from this coming Monday.
Those taken into police custody would also be sent to Wagga.
Hearings would be delayed indefinitely and Albury mention matters ultimately would be dealt with in response to email contact from lawyers.
Many witnesses wouldn't want to turn up for hearings, as had already happened with Sydney jury pools, Ms Moody said, because of coronavirus fears.
MURRUMBIDGEE LOCAL HEALTH DISTRICT ADVICE:
- The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, sore throat and dry cough.
- Symptoms will generally appear 3-4 days after exposure to the virus but can be up to 14 days later.
- Members of the public are advised to minimise travel, increase personal awareness around hand hygiene and practice social distancing.
- Call the Murrumbidgee COVID-19 Hotline on 1800 831 099 for assessment (7.00am - 11.00 pm)
- Call the free-call coronavirus hotline 1800 022 222 and receive advise on the best course of action depending on your symptoms and risks.
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