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Committal hearing

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Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555

John Sutton

In this section you will find helpful information about what a committal hearing is, what is involved in obtaining committal proceedings, what you can expect to occur at a committal hearing and the advantages and disadvantages of a committal hearing.

Committal hearing process ultimately involves a decision by a magistrate as to whether the prosecution evidence is capable of satisfying a jury, properly instructed, beyond reasonable doubt that you have committed an indictable offence. If the magistrate does not believe the evidence would satisfy a jury, the magistrate will dismiss the charges. If the magistrate believes the evidence would satisfy a jury then you will be committed for trial.




Dictionary of terms found in this section

Brief of evidence

The brief of evidence is prepared by the Police and contains all relevant witness statements and information about evidence. A copy must be given to the accused or their legal representative before the court hearing.

Committal hearing

A committal hearing is a hearing in the lower court of all the evidence supporting the charge. During the committal process the magistrate will decide if there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial. In some cases witnesses may be required to give evidence at a committal hearing.

Committal proceedings

A hearing before a for the purpose of deciding whether a person charged with an should be committed for trial or sentence

Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP)

The CDPP is responsible for the prosecution of offences against Commonwealth laws. The CDPP may sometimes be called "the Commonwealth" or "the Crown" in Court. 

Indictable offence

A serious criminal offence, usually heard in a higher court before a judge and jury.

No bill/no further proceedings

The DPP may decide that a case will not proceed further, for example, due to insufficient evidence. A prosecution is discontinued when the court is informed of this.

NSW Director of Public Prosecutions (NSW DPP)

The NSW DPP is responsible for the prosecution of all serious crime in NSW.

Paper committal

A paper committal is when the magistrate reads the brief and decides on that reading that there is enough evidence to send the case to trial.

Section 91

Section 91 of the Criminal Procedure Act sets out what must be proved to cross-examine witnesses in committal proceedings. The magistrate may only order that a witness be cross-examined in committal proceedings if there are substantial reasons why, in the interests of justice, the witness should attend to give oral evidence.

Section 93

Section 93 of the Criminal Procedure Act sets out what must be proved to cross-examine victims of violent offences in committal proceedings. The magistrate must not order that an alleged victim of a violent crime be cross examined in committal proceedings unless there are special reasons.


where to next?

If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

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