The Supreme Court sat at the new Shepparton Law Courts for the first time yesterday.
To mark the occasion, Chief Justice Anne Ferguson and Justices Robert Osborn and David Beach began proceedings with a special ceremonial sitting.
‘‘We have said it before and I will say it again this morning, the Supreme Court is the Supreme Court of Victoria — not just Melbourne,’’ Chief Justice Ferguson said.
‘‘As judges, we want to visit regional Victorian courts and work out of them and, with the necessary financial support, we will continue to be able to do that.’’
Shepparton indigenous elder Bobby Nicholls, Victorian Bar Association president Matt Collins QC and Goulburn Valley Community Legal Centre managing lawyer Kaz Gurney addressed the full court room.
‘‘The Supreme Court is the highest court in our state system,’’ Dr Collins QC said.
‘‘It hears the most serious criminal cases as well as serious commercial and other cases. It sits at the head of the judiciary of the state.’’
Ms Gurney said the opening of the Supreme Court in Shepparton gave a recognition of the importance of our city, one of the largest in rural Victoria.
‘‘It’s not really appropriate that somebody who is a defendant in a matter that’s gone to the Supreme Court has their matter heard in Wangaratta,’’ she said.
‘‘The jury has had to move to Wangaratta on a daily basis, the facilities have not been anywhere near appropriate.’’
Mr Nicholls, who had attended the official opening of the original court building, said he was honoured to attend.
‘‘I don’t frequent these places too much but it’s a lovely building that is long overdue,’’ he said.
Normal Court of Appeal proceedings began at 10.30am in the matter of Minh Luu vs The Queen.