This information provides an overview of the Aboriginal justice initiatives occurring within the CAA under the banner of Aboriginal Programs. These initiatives first started in 1993, with Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Training, and notably the appointment of three Aboriginal Justice Officers in 1998, increasing to 10 in 2010. The first Aboriginal Sentencing Court in Australia (Nunga Court) began operation at Port Adelaide Magistrates Court in 1999, and has expanded into other locations (intra and interstate). The Nunga Court influenced the development of Aboriginal Sentencing Conferences with the amendment in 2005 to the Criminal Law Sentencing Act 1988 providing for Aboriginal Sentencing Conferences in all jurisdictions. 

Aboriginal Justice Officers (AJOs)

The Courts Administration Authority employs 9 Aboriginal Justice Officers working across a range of locations and courts. AJOs are based at:
  • Port Adelaide
  • Adelaide 
  • Elizabeth
  • Youth Court 
  • Port Augusta

As well as their base courts, AJOs service the following courts in the metropolitan, regional and remote areas:

  • Metropolitan: Christies Beach
  • Regional: Berri, Murray Bridge, Port Lincoln, Ceduna, Coober Pedy, Whyalla, Port Pirie, Leigh Creek, Kadina, Maitland
  • Remote: Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands (APY) and Yalata.

Their role includes:

  • assisting with Aboriginal Sentencing Courts/Conferences
  • providing advice to Aboriginal court users regarding procedures, fines, payment options and JP services
  • providing advice to Judicial Officers regarding Aboriginal culture and communities
  • recruiting, training and supporting Elders
  • delivering community education about CAA Aboriginal Programs and employment and the role of AJOs 

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Aboriginal Sentencing Courts and Conferences

The CAA operates Aboriginal Sentencing Courts in Port Adelaide, Murray Bridge, Mount Gambier and Port Augusta. Aboriginal Sentencing Conferences are available pursuant to s.22 of the Sentencing Act 2017 in all jurisdictions.

Nunga Court Port Adelaide

  • Operates on Tuesdays once per month
  • Defendant pleads guilty - for sentencing only
  • Charges relate to Port Adelaide area
  • Elders present - sit with Magistrate
  • Less formality - opportunity for D to speak directly to Magistrate
  • Family members encouraged to attend and speak directly to Magistrate
  • Support agencies encouraged to attend

Nunga Court Murray Bridge

  • Operates every 2 months
  • Same criteria as Port Adelaide

Aboriginal Sentencing Conferences

Section 22 of the Sentencing Act 2017
  • Allows for any court to hold an Aboriginal Sentencing Conference
  • Conferences conducted in Supreme Court, District Court, and Magistrates Courts
  • Judicial Officer attends with Elders, Defendant, Prosecution, D’s lawyer, victim invited, AJO
  • AJO assist with convening conference
  • Family members and support agencies encouraged to attend
  • Defendant can speak directly to Judicial Officer
  • Generally held in a courtroom

In addition to the work of Aboriginal Justice Officers and Aboriginal Sentencing Courts and Conferences, Aboriginal Programs also provides support for Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Training, the NCJA Indigenous Justice SA Committee and Aboriginal staff within the CAA.

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NCJA Indigenous Justice - SA Committee

  • Judicial committee chaired by Supreme Court Justice
  • Members from Supreme Court, District Court, Coroners Court, Federal Court and Magistrates Court
  • Raises Aboriginal cultural awareness amongst Judicial Officers through presentations, workshops and community visits

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Aboriginal Cultural Awareness Training

Currently not available