Nick Marshall-McCormack

Nearly 500 multicultural students visited the Fairfield and Liverpool Courthouses recently to learn about the criminal justice systey according to the office of the Minister for Multiculturalism John Sidoti.

“The open days are a great opportunity for the newly-arrived migrants and refugees, who are studying English at Navitas, to learn about legal services in NSW, and to understand how courts operate,” Mr Sidoti said. 

The students come from a variety of backgrounds including Iraq, Syria, Vietnam, Burma and Afghanistan. 

“Some of the students may have had negative experiences with authorities in their homeland and it’s important they understand that in NSW we have a fair justice system where corruption is not tolerated,” Mr Sidoti said.

This open day tackled myths about police and the courts and educated them about their legal rights and how they can access support.

Registrar Fabienne Blancquart gave an overview of the Local Courts in Western Sydney including registry services, court procedures and a tour of the courthouse.

They learnt about the driving licence regime, demerit points, the dangers of drink driving and how to pay fines through the Work and Development Order Scheme.

There was a mock trial of a newly-arrived migrant who has been charged with speeding and driving while unlicensed, two of the most common criminal charges in the Local Court.

NSW police officers discussed the wide range of free support services available to help domestic violence victims. 

Mr Sidoti said it was great to see the Local Court and Navitas working together to support newly-arrived migrants and refugees.

“The majority of these students have only been in NSW for less than six months and are still learning English, so it’s important they know where they can get legal assistance if they need it,” he said. 

“Court open days are designed to help break down barriers between multicultural communities and the justice system.”

The open day was a joint partnership between the Department of Communities and Justice diversity services unit, Legal Aid, NSW Police Force and the Law Society of NSW. It was held on 31 July at Fairfield and 1 August at Liverpool.



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