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Advantages and disadvantages of a committal hearing


Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555

There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to your case going to a committal hearing. These include:


Some of the advantages include:

  1. You may be able to convince a Magistrate that there is no reasonable prospect that a jury would convict you of an indictable offence.
  2. Find out exactly what witnesses will say about an issue.
  3. The cross examination of key witnesses may highlight how weak the police case is. This may lead to the DPP deciding not to prosecute you further.
  4. Highlights the strengths and weaknesses in the police case.
  5. Highlights questions/issues that should not be asked at trial.
  6. Witnesses may give another version of the incident, inconsistent with a previous version or the version they give at trial.


Some of the disadvantages include:

  1. You have to disclose to the police the areas which you want to cross examine the witness and the reason for doing so.
  2. Each witness may be questioned by the prosecutor prior to the committal hearing. This may put a witness on notice that they will be cross examined about a specific issue.
  3. Extra cost – These costs may include drafting of written submissions, a court appearance to argue why at law you should have a committal hearing and the committal hearing itself.
  4. A witness will know what that are likely to be asked at your trial. They may be ready to explain deficiencies highlighted at the committal hearing.
  5. Time delay – depending upon the length of the legal argument and the length of the committal hearing electing to have a committal hearing could add up to 6 months to the time it takes to have your matter finalised.
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