If a family member or friend has been charged with a criminal offence, a decision will be made about whether they should be released from police custody on bail, or whether they will be refused bail by police.
At the first stage of the EAGP process, the Magistrate will make orders for the brief of evidence to be served. You are entitled to receive all of the evidence the police are alleging before entering any pleas. This stage is an 8 week adjournment period.
The brief of evidence is likely to contain statements from Police officers involved in the matter as well as any alleged victims. Examples of other types of evidence that may form part of your brief of evidence includes CCTV, phone records, search warrant material.
Once the brief of evidence has been served, the Prosecution are then required to ‘certify’ the charges that they will be proceeding with. This involves a senior prosecutor reviewing the brief of evidence to determine whether the charges that were initially laid are the appropriate charges based on the evidence.
Essentially, a charge certificate is a document that states the charges that the prosecution will be proceeding with. It should also outline which charges (if any) have been withdrawn, and any back up or related offences that the Prosecution will rely on as an ‘in the alternative’ charge. This stage is a 6-week adjournment period.
This stage often involves negotiations. A case conference is arranged between your lawyer and the ODPP senior prosecutor who certified the charges. You need to be available to take a phone call or nearby for your lawyer to get instructions from you about the negotiations. The purpose of the case conferencing stage is to facilitate resolving the matter in an expeditious way.
If it resolves in a way that the parties ultimately agree about the charges and facts, then you will be committed for sentence. Further case conferences can be held if it assists to get closer to a resolution. If there is no resolution, then you will be committed for trial.
Following the case conferencing stage, a case conferencing certificate (‘CCC’) is prepared by the prosecutors. It is a formal document that states what charges you are currently charged with. It also contains an outline of any offers made by your lawyers or the prosecution during the negotiations, and whether the offers were accepted or rejected.
This document is then provided to the court at the final mention in the Local Court. It is placed in a sealed envelope.
Q: What is the purpose of committal proceedings?
A: There are two main purposes for these proceedings. They are:
Q: What does it mean to be committed for sentence?
A: This means that a plea of guilty is entered and you will be sentenced in the District Court by a judge.
Q: What does it mean to be committed for trial?
A: This means that a plea of not guilty is entered and your case will go to trial. A finding of guilty or not guilty will be decided by a judge or jury.
Q: Is the process any different if I don’t have a lawyer?
A: Yes, there are provisions that mean the process happens slightly differently if you don’t have a lawyer, including changes to the timing. This means that the proceedings take slightly longer than they would if you do have a lawyer.
Q: Can a Magistrate still dismiss the charges during committal?
A: No. Previously, the law about committal proceedings allowed a Magistrate to dismiss charges before they reach the District or Supreme Court. The introduction of recent amendments resulted in Magistrates no longer being authorised to dismiss matters or charges during committal proceedings. However, a Magistrate may exclude prosecutorial witnesses in certain circumstances.
Hugo Law Group is a law firm that is focused on protecting and defending your rights. Drawing on decades of experience, our team of criminal lawyers will guide you through the legal process, providing comprehensive, honest and strategic advice – qualities that give us our renowned reputation.
Whether you want to plead not guilty, you are looking to secure the best possible sentence, or a loved one wants to apply for bail, it is essential to have an experienced team of criminal defence lawyers in your corner.
Seeking comprehensive and practical advice at an early stage will best ensure your rights and interests are protected. Our lawyers will properly prepare and present your case to assist you in getting the best possible outcome.
At Hugo Law Group, we will clearly explain what your rights and obligations are so that you can make informed decisions about how to deal with the police and the court process.
Even if you have not yet been charged with a criminal offence, you should seek advice from a lawyer at an early stage to ensure that your rights and interests are protected.
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