A $310,000 technology upgrade at Grafton Courthouse will improve hearings, increase safety and provide better facilities for vulnerable witnesses, Member for Clarence Christopher Gulaptis and Attorney General Gabrielle Upton said last Wednesday. High definition Audio Visual Link (AVL) systems will be installed at 17 courthouses across the state in 2016, including Grafton. “For the first time, Audio Visual Link will operate in both courtrooms in Grafton, with high definition technology to be used when detainees are appearing from prison or witnesses are giving evidence from remote locations,” said Mr Gulaptis. “AVL makes a huge difference to the way proceedings are conducted, as it reduces the need to bring prisoners to court and creates a safer environment.” Both courtrooms will have a laptop computer for presenting evidence, and a document camera for zooming in on exhibits and projecting them onto a large LCD screen. “This means everyone in court will be able to simultaneously examine evidence in intricate detail,” Ms Upton said. The upgrade will also include improved technology for vulnerable witnesses to give “in camera” evidence from a private room. “It’s important to provide children, sexual assault victims and other vulnerable witnesses with a private and comfortable space where they can testify – away from the stressful environment of the courtroom,” Ms Upton said. Ms Upton said the upgrades would be completed in July. “This project is about harnessing the power of technology to deliver a fast, fair and efficient justice system,” she said. Audio Visual Link is now operating in hundreds of justice facilities across NSW including 203 courtrooms at 68 locations, saving taxpayers millions of dollars each year. The NSW Government is investing $40 million over four years in an AVL Consolidation Project which includes installations in courts, prisons, juvenile justice centres, police stations, Legal Aid and Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions’ facilities.