There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to your case going to a committal hearing. These include:
Some of the advantages include:
- You may be able to convince a Magistrate that there is no reasonable prospect that a jury would convict you of an indictable offence.
- Find out exactly what witnesses will say about an issue.
- 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.
- Highlights the strengths and weaknesses in the police case.
- Highlights questions/issues that should not be asked at trial.
- 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:
- You have to disclose to the police the areas which you want to cross examine the witness and the reason for doing so.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.