Off To The District Court

Are We There Yet?

So you are charged with a Strictly Indictable Offence or a Table Offence and an election has taken place; now it looks like your matter is destined for the District Court. None of this makes sense?

See our previous post “Destined for the District Court? Looking at the fine print –”

Because of the seriousness of Strictly Indictable Offences and table offences which are elected on the Court has created a process to ensure that the charges are properly considered; and that negotiations have taken place before sending them to the District Court. The first step following the first mention is that the Court will make brief service orders.

Brief service orders provide that Police have 8 weeks to serve all brief material on the solicitors for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP). Until this takes place Police appear as the prosecutors.

Once the brief has been served on the ODPP, carriage of the prosecution passes from Police.

Once served, the ODPP is given 6 weeks to consider the evidence and certify what charges will proceed. If the matter is complex, the Court will give the ODPP further time to certify the charges. The Court has power to throw the matter out after 6 months from return date on the Court Attendance Notice.

Once the matter has been certified by the ODPP, the Court directs both the ODPP; and the legal representatives to sit down and discuss whether the matter will be resolved by a plea of guilty or whether it will proceed as a trial. If the matter is to be a plea; the parties will negotiate what charges will be plead to, and if so, on what facts. Based on what charges are to be plead to and what is sought by the prosecution; the matter will all be sentenced in the Local Court or in the District Court.

If the matter is not going to be a plea of guilty, then the parties will discuss reducing the length of the hearing to only the issues in dispute.

If the prosecution has certified a charge that is strictly indictable; has elected on a table matter, then the matter will proceed to a jury trial in the District Court. If not, the matter will be heard by a magistrate in the Local Court.  

At Green & Associates, we are experts in applying for no convictions; and have an excellent success rate in achieving this for our clients. Regardless of the charge or offence; we are ready to be in your corner and assist you during this uncertain time. If you or someone you know needs assistance with a defamation case, contact our office or book an appointment today.

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