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Commital hearing - section 91

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Sydney: (02) 9261 4555

Submissions by the DPP and Your Solicitor

Normally, the DPP and your solicitor will discuss the grounds for the granting of a committal hearing and try and reach agreement as to which witnesses are to be cross examined and about what. If the DPP consent the Magistrate must order that the witnesses attend to be cross examined. If the DPP do not agree, then it will be necessary for your solicitor to argue why the court should order that witnesses attend a committal hearing to be cross examined.

What Must Be Proved to Cross-Examine Witnesses

Section 91 of the Criminal Procedure Act sets out the test for the Magistrate to consider. The Magistrate may only order that a witness be cross-examined if there are substantial reasons why, in the interests of justice, the witness should attend to give oral evidence.

What Must Be Proved to Cross-Examine Victims of Violent Offences

Section 93 of the Criminal Procedure Act sets out the test for the Magistrate to consider. The Magistrate must not order that an alleged victim of a violent crime be cross examined unless there are special reasons why the alleged victim should, in the interests of justice, attend to give oral evidence.

The following offences are offences involving violence:

  • (a) a prescribed sexual offence,
  • (b) attempts to murder,
  • (c) wounding etc with intent to do grievous bodily harm or resist arrest,
  • (d) infliction of grievous bodily harm,
  • (e) abduction or kidnapping,
  • (f) robbery

Decision By The Court

If the court does not make an order that a witness / alleged victim is to attend a committal hearing your matter will proceed by way of paper committal. The Magistrate will make a decision whether you should be committed for trial on the statements tendered. Your solicitor can make submissions why you should not be committed for trial and you may give evidence.


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