Lawyer for murder accused levels criticism at private prison
THE lawyer for a man facing a murder allegation has personally paid for his psychological assessment and criticised the prison in which he's being held.
James Paul Alderton, 25, faced Lismore Local Court by video link from Parklea Correctional Centre on Friday.
He's been accused of the stabbing murder of 36-year-old Charlie Larter and assault of Zack Larter and Joshua Mead during a broad daylight brawl in Knox Park, Murwillumbah on June 6, 2017.
DPP prosecutor Alanna Coxon told the court he was also now facing a fresh charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
"That just more accurately reflects the extent of injury to one of the victims," she said.
The court heard a plea deal, offered to the prosecution by Mr Alderton's legal counsel after a three-day committal hearing, was being considered.
Defence solicitor Tracey Randall raised concerns about delays in the case, in part related to matters at the correctional centre.
"Parklea is notoriously difficult for allowing legal representatives proper access to their prisoners," Ms Randall said.
Ms Randall told the court two recent video link (AVL) meetings with her client had been cancelled, including this Wednesday after the centre went into lockdown after a prisoner climbed onto the roof.
"He's been sent to the wrong place and then the AVL's been cancelled," she said.
Another meeting with Mr Alderton was cancelled when the prison went into lockdown after a prisoner climbed onto the roof on Wednesday.
Ms Randall said rescheduling meetings was taking up to two weeks, compared to two or three days at other facilities.
She also criticised the centre's communication with her client.
When the prosecution's psychologist went to see him, he had not been warned and had a visit with his mother due to occur at the same time, the court heard.
"Mr Alderton's been trying to be as co-operative as possible," Ms Randall said.
"The jail is supposed to provide us with appropriate access and that's not happening at the moment."
Ms Randall also cited "difficulties with Legal Aid", including problems accessing the grants needed for Mr Alderton's defence.
"I had to actually personally fund the psychologist's report," she said.
"This is a massive brief. There are a huge number of civilian witnesses.
"I think both legal representatives have been doing what they can ... but there's things outside of our control."
The case will return to court on October 16 and Mr Alderton's expected to face court by video link on that date.
A spokeswoman from MTC-Broadspectrum, which runs the centre, said all inmates had "access to legal visits in accordance with their rights and (our) policies".
"Occasionally visits must be postponed due to operational and security requirements," she said.
"MTC-Broadspectrum has been working with solicitors since we commenced operating Parklea Correctional Centre to improve communication and access for legal representatives."