Preparing for the first directions hearing                

 

The orders under s 246(1) of the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 will usually specify the date, time and place for the defendant to answer the charge in the order as being the first directions hearing. 

In preparation for the first directions hearing and to enable the Court to make appropriate directions at the first directions hearing, the parties need to take certain steps before the first directions hearing.

WHO

STEP

DESCRIPTION

PROSECUTOR
CONSIDER THE TIME NEEDED FOR NOTICE OF THE PROSECUTION CASE The prosecutor is to consider the time by which notice of the prosecution case could be given by the prosecutor under s 247E of the Criminal Procedure Act.
DEFENDANT
CONSIDER WHICH PLEA TO MAKE The defendant is to consider the plea he or she intends to make in answer to the offence charged in the order.  Usually, the pleas are either guilty or not guilty of the offence charged.  Courts have held that a defendant may be given a discount on the penalties imposed for an offence if a defendant enters an early plea of guilty, which may be at the first directions hearing.
DEFENDANT
CONSIDER THE TIME NEEDED FOR DEFENCE RESPONSE The defendant is to consider the time by which notice of the defence response could be given by the defendant under s 247F of the Criminal Procedure Act.
BOTH PARTIES CONSIDER WHETHER PRELIMINARY HEARING(S) ARE REQUIRED The prosecutor and the defendant are to consider whether the Court at the first directions hearing should order one or more preliminary hearings before the Court under s 247G of the Criminal Procedure Act.  At preliminary hearings the Court may make directions for the efficient management and conduct of the proceedings, and hear and determine and make rulings or findings on objections, submissions and questions of law (see s 247G(2) and s 247G (3)).
BOTH PARTIES CONSIDER WHETHER A PRELIMINARY CONFERENCE IS REQUIRED The prosecutor and the defendant are to consider whether the Court at the first directions hearing should order that a preliminary conference be held under s 247H of the Criminal Procedure Act. The purpose of a preliminary conference is to determine whether the defendant and the prosecutor are able to reach agreement regarding the evidence to be admitted at the trial or sentencing hearing (see s 247H(4)).
BOTH PARTIES CONSIDER WHETHER PRELIMINARY DISCLOSURE IS REQUIRED The prosecutor and the defendant are to consider whether the Court at the first directions hearing should order preliminary disclosure by the prosecutor under s 247J of the Criminal Procedure Act, by the defendant under s 247K of the Criminal Procedure Act, and by the prosecutor in response to the defence response under s 247L of the Criminal Procedure Act.
BOTH PARTIES DISCUSS AND AGREE ON DIRECTIONS The prosecutor and the defendant are to discuss and endeavour to agree on the directions which the Court should make at the fist directions hearing.  If the parties do not agree, each party should prepare their own version of the directions they propose.
 
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