Warrnambool's Magistrates Court is struggling to handle its case load, an experienced barrister says.
Geelong-based Timothy Sullivan, who has practised criminal law for two decades, appeared in Warrnambool Magistrates Court on Friday representing a 19-year-old man who had spent the last 79 days in custody on remand.
He said it was the second time his client had appeared before court for a bail application since August 19 and the second time it was adjourned to another date due to time constraints.
Magistrate Mark Stratmann, who began presiding in south-west courts in May, said the court registrar had indicated there was not enough time for the matter to proceed.
He said he had people remanded overnight who were in custody for the first time, as well as safety orders to be made in relation to children taken into protected custody.
"There is only so much one person can do," the magistrate said.
Mr Sullivan said the court did not have enough capacity to deal with the work before it, to which the magistrate replied: "I hear that loud and clear."
The lawyer said perhaps he needed to take the matter to a different region where more staff was available. Mr Stratmann said he could not comment.
"But I have heard what you said," he told the lawyer.
The bail application was adjourned until October 17.
Victoria's chief magistrate Peter Lauritsen last year called time on increasingly long hours after case backlogs had seen Warrnambool's court sittings regularly start early and finish late.
From June 4 last year, magistrates courts began sitting only between the hours of 10am and 4pm.
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