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I would like to take this opportunity to thank Armstrong Legal and specifically Mr Thomas Allen for representing me in my recent case. At the outset, I would like to thank Mr Allen for the very professional delivery of his legal service. From the first time that I met Mr Allen, I was very impressed with his demeanour and delivery as he made me feel at ease knowing the severity of my case. Mr Allen not only gave me the possible positive outcomes of the case but also the realisation of the worst-case scenario as far as sentencing goes. … I will certainly be recommending Armstrong Legal to any of my friends or family needing representation in criminal matters. Thank you so very much.
Thank you for your representation and help. Fingers crossed for the next step and parole. I just want to say that from the first phone call to your office, your service has been outstanding and have put my mind at ease. I am glad I picked your number to ring.
Thank you Armstrong Legal, the lawyers that have helped over the past 3 years but more importantly, thank you to Thomas Allen for the major part you and Mr Buckland played. Cannot thank you enough. Cheers.
Hi all. I would like to thank Ms Lisa Riley for all her help with my legal issues this past month. It was the most harrowing experience of my life and thanks to her expertise, professionalism and knowledge of the law, I came out almost unscathed. I have no hesitation in recommending Lisa Riley and Armstrong Legal if you need help. The service is amazing and the cost was very minimal for the great outcome. Thank you Lisa for helping me in the most difficult time.
I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. My whole life I was thrown away, you made me feel like I did mean something. I could not have asked for a better lawyer. Your compassion and love for your job is inspiring. Your upfront and honesty were muchly appreciated, you are a beautiful person. Thank you for not giving up on me and thank you for all the work you put in. I wish you all the best for the future and I will be recommending you to everyone I know. You're amazing!!!!
I just wanted to thank you for representing me on Monday, I was overjoyed & relieved with the outcome. I don’t think it could have gone any better. All the best, I hope you got to celebrate this one instead after work, you forever made a difference in my life.
I know I thanked you before we parted company but please allow me to reiterate in writing my sincere deepest thanks for defending me in court today. … Armstrong Legal certainly has a great Lawyer you are a credit to the company and I'm quite sure you will secure a very successful future! … My Kindest Regards and Thanks
Throughout Angela has been the consummate professional. She maintained a calm, yet strong demeanour remained informative and completely open in her communication and took complete ownership of the situation. We felt confident we finally had an advocate to steer us out of the nightmare we were in, and she did so with great respect and sincerity. I cannot speak more highly of Angela. She has literally rescued our family from what looked very much like a hopeless future.
Words can’t describe how grateful I am to Trudie Cameron being my solicitor and to Andrew Tiedt presenting my case in the court. They both have been very supportive and amazingly professional and effective. I’ve got an absolutely fantastic outcome I couldn’t even dream about.
Soon after meeting Andrew I knew he was the solicitor I wanted to handle my matter. He immediately sprang into action which brought me stability and hope during a tumultuous time in my life. Andrew was never afraid to give me straight answers to my tough questions which is a true mark of integrity. He is clearly at ease in the court environment and I believe his calm and measured demeanour went a long way to helping me secure the best result from my day in court. I would certainly recommend you approach Andrew if you need assistance.
"Andrew Tiedt was very professional and considerate to personal circumstances and gave sound advice that resulted in the best outcome possible. Highly recommended."
Changes to the Committal Process (NSW)
In 2018, the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 was amended so that committal hearings no longer exist in New South Wales. They have now been replaced with the new criminal processes of charge certification and case conferencing. Under the new system, when a person is charged with indictable offences, a senior prosecutor must review the evidence and confirm which charges will proceed. A mandatory case conference must be held between the prosecution and the defence. However, accused persons no longer have the right to test the strength of the prosecution case before a serious indictable matter is transferred to a higher court.
Why the changes to the committal process?
The main reason cited by the government for the changes is to reduce delays. The reforms are intended to promote productivity and ensure that indictable matters are effectively managed. The changes apply to all proceedings commenced in New South Wales after April 2018.
The old committal system
Under the old committal system, a person charged with an indictable offence in NSW had the right to a committal hearing. They could test the prosecution case by having prosecution witnesses attend court and subjected to cross-examination.
If the Magistrate was satisfied that the prosecution case is strong enough that a jury could return a verdict of guilty, they would commit the matter.
The matter would then be finalised in the Supreme Court or District Court either after a trial or after a plea and sentencing hearing. If the Magistrate was not satisfied that the evidence could support a finding of guilt, they could dismiss the charge.
The new committal system
Under the new system, defendants charged with indictable offences no longer are entitled to a committal hearing. Instead, the Magistrate now simply oversees the procedural steps required under the Criminal Procedure Act 1986. This is a more limited role and involves ensuring a brief of evidence is served on the defence, ensuring that a charge certificate is filed and served on the defence, and ensuring that a case conference is held between the prosecution and the defence (if the defendant is legally represented) and that a case conference certificate is subsequently filed with the court. The accused must then enter a plea to each of the charges that are being proceeded with and the Magistrate will commit the matter to a higher court for trial or for sentence.
The brief of evidence
Under section 62, a brief of evidence must be served on the accused or on their lawyer. The brief of evidence must include:
- All evidence that makes up the prosecution case;
- Any other material the prosecution has that may reasonably be relevant to the accused’s case;
- Any other material the prosecution has that would impact the strength of its case.
After the brief of evidence has been served on the defence, the prosecution must file a charge certificate. The charge sheet must specify:
- The details of charges being proceeded with;
- Any backup charges or related charges;
- Any charges that were laid but will not be proceeded with
- Any other matter prescribed by regulations.
The prosecution must certify that the evidence is enough to establish the accused is guilty of each element of each offence on the charge certificate.
Prior to the case conference, a magistrate must explain the committal process to the defendant. The magistrate must also explain the sentencing discount scheme so that he or she understands the benefits of pleading guilty.
If the accused is represented, the parties must hold a case conference after the charge certificate has been filed. The proceedings will be adjourned for eight weeks to allow this to occur.
If the accused is unrepresented or pleads guilty before a case conference is held, no case conference is required. A case conference is not required in cases where the accused’s fitness to be tried is an issue.
After a charge certificate has been filed, a magistrate can direct the attendance at a committal proceeding of a witness whose evidence is referred to in the brief. Either defence or prosecution can make such an application. A magistrate may only make the direction that the witness must attend if satisfied that there is are substantial reasons why the person should give oral evidence. A magistrate may not direct the attendance as a witness of a complainant in a sexual offence matter if they are a cognitively impaired person or if they were under 16 when the offence allegedly occurred.
If you require legal advice or representation please contact Armstrong Legal.
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