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For certain offences a Local Court is able to finalise your matter, record a conviction and impose a penalty if you do not attend court. There are many reasons why a person may not attend court. These include sickness, a mistake as to the date you had to attend court; or your solicitor forgot the date. If this has happened to you it may be possible to reverse the court's decision and have your say in court. The process is called annulment.
You may make an application for annulment of your conviction or sentence imposed by the Local Court where the original proceedings were held. However, you can only do this if you were not in court when the conviction was made or when the sentence was imposed. An application may also be made to the Minister and if the Minister is satisfied that there is doubt concerning your guilt or liability.
You must make an application within two years of the conviction or sentence being made in your absence. You cannot make more than one application for annulment concerning the same matter, unless you get permission from the Local Court. Your application must be in writing and lodged with the registrar of the relevant Local Court.
The registrar will notify you of the date, time and place for dealing with the application. The Local Court can deal with your application whether you are present or absent, in a court open to the public or in private. When the Court is dealing with your application, it may stay the execution of your sentence. This means that the sentence does not take effect until the application is determined.
Once your conviction or sentence has been annulled, it no longer has any effect. Any enforcement taken against you will be reversed. If your fine is annulled, you will receive a refund of what you have paid.
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.