Crime law changes target smoother prosecutions

| 06/06/2018 | 9 Comments

(CNS): Government is presenting a new Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill, which, if passed in the Legislative Assembly, will allow prosecutors the ability to transmit cases from Summary to Grand Court without having to leave behind less serious offences. At present, when a case involving a class A offence is transmitted to the Grand Court, the lesser category offences, which may still be related to the overall offence, are left behind, which can sometimes lead to disconnected sentencing and a less than full picture of the course of offending presented during a trial or the sentencing hearing to the higher court.

In the past, the Grand Court has heard and passed sentence on offenders where not all of the offences have been before the judge because one or more of the crimes committed by the defendant may remain in Summary Court, despite being very relevant to the case.

Causing death by dangerous or careless driving is one of the most common types of cases where this happens. These cases can be clearly aggravated by a defendant who has left the scene of the collision compared to a case where the driver has remained and tried to assist. But there have been numerous cases where that element of the case has been left in Summary Court, while the substantive case has been handled in the Grand Court because leaving the scene of an accident is a summary offence.

Cases where a charge of the illegal possession of a firearm is transmitted to the higher court but the possession of drugs is left behind means the Grand Court may not always have the full picture when it comes to why the individual in question had a gun.

As well as leaving gaps in the narrative, the splitting of individual charges against one person in connection with one related course of offending, creating cases that straddle two courts, also adds to the workload and administrative burden on the justice system. The hope is that by allowing all of the relevant crimes, regardless of their categorisation, to be elevated at the same time will lead to more efficient and effective case management.

The new bill also aims to iron out anomalies and create consistency between the procedures in the Summary Court and the Grand Court when it comes to acquitting defendants where there is no evidence for a prima facie case and to confirm that the burden of proof is always beyond reasonable doubt in both Summary and Grand Court cases.

See the relevant bill in the CNS Library

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (9)

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  1. anonymous says:

    Why has it taken decades to correct this glaring anomaly.Could it be that under the old system more lawyers got to put their hands in the pie?.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Duh. Just now?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Just one more reason why the efficiency of the legal system is so deficient.

    If s full efficiency review of the cf the court dystem was conducted rhen it would be revealed that we do not need more court buildings but more eficiency in the courts.

  4. West Bay Premier says:

    Sounds like more wasted time for these politicians, and more protection for the criminals and drug dealers .

  5. Anonymous says:

    Smoothing the prosecution process sounds great but how about holding regular audits of the effectiveness of the prosecution service and holding people accountable for doing crap work. This country has a terrible successful prosecution rate compared with the level of crime. Criminals are more likely to be struck by lightning than convicted of anything..

  6. SSM345 says:

    Now all they need to do is legalize commonsense

  7. SSM345 says:

    HalleFuckinlluah!!!! That just shaved $1.5M off the new courthouse costs.

  8. Anonymous says:

    They can pass laws all they want to give more time, still got to let them out early because the prison is FULL

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