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Practice Note No. 103

REPEALED - Arraignment of Accused Persons and Management of Criminal Trials


    The Court will introduce a system of arraigning accused persons committed to the Supreme Court for trial or sentence and those against whom the Director of Public Prosecutions presents ex officio indictments.

    On and after 1 November 1998 magistrates committing accused persons to the Supreme Court for trial or sentence will be asked to direct them to appear for arraignment on a day to be fixed by the Supreme Court.

    The Criminal Registry of the Supreme Court will fix such matters and ex officio prosecutions for arraignment before the List Judge and will notify the accused of the fixture. Sydney arraignments, which will include cases originating in Newcastle, Wollongong, Goulburn and nearby places, will be fixed for the following days -

    (a) where the accused pleads guilty before the magistrate, on the first Friday of the first month not less than four weeks after committal;

    (b) otherwise, on the first Friday of the first month not less than four months after committal.

    If these rules would result in a January date, the arraignment will be held on the first Friday of February.

    Country arraignments will be held in Lismore, Dubbo, and Wagga Wagga at regular intervals, depending on the amount and distribution of business and other factors. If possible, those who have pleaded guilty before a magistrate will be arraigned within two months after committal. Those pleading not guilty will be arraigned about four months after committal.

    The Court expects that the following steps will have been taken before arraignment -

    •In defended matters, the Crown will have served a copy of the indictment, a statement of the Crown case, a list of the witnesses it proposes to call and all statements of those witnesses.

    •Accused needing legal aid will have received a grant of aid.

    •A public defender or other defence counsel or solicitor will have advised the accused.

    On arraignment, the prosecution and the accused should be represented by legal practitioners.

    In defended matters, practitioners should have discussed all available ways of shortening the trial. The Crown should be in a position to state whether it is prepared to accept a plea of guilty to a lesser charge in discharge of the indictment.

    The accused will be required to plead to the indictment.

    In defended matters, the defence should be in a position to inform the Court which facts asserted by the Crown are agreed and which are in issue, which witnesses are needed for cross-examination and which are not.

    In defended matters, practitioners will be expected to identify any preliminary matters to be decided in the absence of the jury and to estimate how long they may take. Issues which are suitable for determination by a judge other than the trial judge should be identified.

    If the hearing is likely to be short, either because the accused pleads guilty or because there is only a narrow issue to be determined, a hearing date will be allocated at the arraignment.

    Cases which are not allocated a date for hearing will be adjourned to a date before the List Judge for further management.

    Chief Justice
    15 October 1998

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