Streamlining Court Attendance Procedures
Offence Streaming Model
SAPOL and the Courts Administration Authority are committed to working collaboratively to improve current systems and streamline court attendance for defendants charged with a range of simple offences. From December 2013, an Offence Streaming Model will operate across the metropolitan area.
The model introduces a new method of notifying defendants of their court attendance for some summary offences and aims to shorten the time between alleged offending and appearance in court. Defendants are also able to obtain their summary of evidence prior to appearing in court.
Both SAPOL and the Courts appreciate it can be stressful waiting to attend court and resolve charges. As a result, Early Resolution Courts operate in some Magistrates Courts to assist defendants charged with simple summary offences.
Court Attendance Notification
Some defendants will continue to be placed on bail or be served a summons by a police officer. However, other defendants, who were not arrested, may receive a phone call from SAPOL advising them of their court date and time. The SAPOL employee making the phone call will clearly identify themselves as being from SAPOL. This new process is called Court Attendance Notification.
During the phone call, the police will advise the defendant what they are being charged with and when they are required to attend court. The police will follow-up the phone call with a text message confirming the court date and time and will also include the police apprehension report number.
Defendants who do not attend court as a result of their Court Attendance Notification will have a summons issued to them by the court and this will be served by uniform police.
Collection of Summary of Evidence
A summary of evidence may be emailed, posted or faxed to the defendant. The defendant may be able to go to any metropolitan Police Station and collect a copy of the summary of evidence about their case. To ensure privacy is maintained, the defendant will need to show the police photographic identification and the text message they were sent. If the defendant pleads guilty, this summary of evidence will be detailed to the court by the prosecutor. If the defendant wishes to get legal advice, they can take this summary of evidence to their lawyer. It is in a defendant's best interest to have this summary of evidence before the first court date so they know what the police will be alleging as this will help their decision of how to plead.
Defendants who have been arrested and placed on bail are also able to organise collection of their summary of evidence by contacting their respective Prosecution Unit.
Defendants who are served a summons will be given a copy of their summary of evidence at the same time.
Early Resolution Court
Defendants attending court as a result of the Court Attendance Notification process will be listed in the Early Resolution Court. They will be able to either plead guilty on this day or get an adjournment for legal advice. Defendants will be encouraged to speak to the prosecutor to seek clarification of the information in their summary of evidence if required.
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