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This consultation has concluded

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What is being decided?

The State Government is seeking public comment on changes to the way major indictable matters are dealt with in the criminal justice system.

The changes, which have been published as draft amendments to the Summary Procedure Act 1921, the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 and the Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988, will enable courts, police, forensic services and prosecutors to focus their resources where they are most needed, and ease the pressure on our courts system.

What is a major indictable offence?

An indictable offence is one that guarantees the defendant the right to a trial by jury. Indictable offences are generally the more serious crimes, and penalties are generally greater than for other offences.

These changes are part of the South Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to criminal justice system reform, through the Transforming Criminal Justice initiative. To find our more, go to www.agd.sa.gov.au/TCJ.

Proposed changes include:

  • Requiring major indictable matters to be the subject of a ‘charge determination’ by the Director of Public Prosecutions (the DPP) prior to the commencement of committal proceedings.
  • Giving courts discretion to set out realistic adjournment timeframes that reflect the needs of individual cases, and reduce unnecessary court appearances for a major indictable matter when it is in the Magistrates Court.
  • Offering a sliding scale for early guilty pleas or cooperation with the prosecution that would allow for a discount on sentencing of between 10 and 40 per cent, depending on the timing.
  • The introduction of a tiered disclosure scheme, that will allow for earlier disclosure of primary evidence to defence – helping to encourage earlier guilty pleas and supporting negotiations with prosecution.
  • Requiring ‘case statements’ to be filed by prosecution and defence prior to a matter being arraigned in the District or Supreme Courts to identify the matters that are genuinely in dispute, enabling court, police, forensic and prosecution resources to be focused on those matters.
  • Encouraging early guilty pleas.

The reforms, proposed by Attorney-General John Rau, will reduce unnecessary hearings by setting realistic time frames and making prosecution and defence reveal more about their argument in advance so they can identify and focus on the real issues in dispute.

Broader changes to the Criminal Law Sentencing Act 1988 (Sentencing Act) are also proposed, as set out in the Sentencing Bill 2016. These were the subject of a separate consultation earlier in 2016 - click here to find out more.

The Summary Procedure (Indictable Offences) Amendment Bill 2016 (Procedure Bill) (PDF 290KB) contains the details of the procedural aspects of the reform.

The Criminal Law (Sentencing) (Sentencing Reductions) Amendment Bill 2016 (Sentencing Reductions Bill) (PDF 50KB) has been created to make it easier to focus on the changes to the sentencing discounts that complement this major indictable reform.

Once finalised, the Sentencing Bill and the Sentencing Reductions Bill will be combined.  

How can you get involved?

We want your feedback on the proposed changes and how you think it will impact your community and the criminal justice system. You can get involved by:

You can receive updates on the outcomes of the consultation by signing up to the mailing list, justicereform@sa.gov.au.  

Want to know more?

Updates

Thu, 1 Jun 2017 at 9:00 AM

Major Indictable Reform

Tue, 7 Feb 2017 at 12:00 PM

Major Indictable Reform Outcomes

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