Archive for the ‘Criminal Law’ Category

HOW THE LOCAL COURT WORKS

The most common criminal charges “summary offences” are heard by a Magistrate in a Local Court. The nearest Local Courts are located at Mudgee, Gulgong, Rylstone & Dunedoo.

The case for the Police is presented by a Police Prosecutor or a Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Solicitor.

Accused persons are usually represented by a private Solicitor or a Legal Aid duty Solicitor. Some accused persons represent themselves.

If the accused is in custody he/she sits in a special secure area known as “the dock”.

The proceedings are recorded on audio tape. They are open to the public unless a person under 18 is involved in which case the Local Court is closed & the Children’s Court is opened.

HOW DO COURTS DEAL WITH MENTAL ILLNESS?

Normally the law requires a person to either plead guilty or not guilty to a charge.

A person can also apply to have a charge dismissed if there is evidence that he/she is:

  • developmentally disabled o
  • suffering from a mental illness or
  • suffering from a mental condition for which treatment is available.
    • Such applications have to be supported by an expert Psychiatrists Report.
    • Dismissals usually require the person to stick to a Treatment Plan.
    • •The person can be penalised by the Court for not following the Plan.

Types of Prison Sentences

Local Court Magistrates can impose up to 2 years imprisonment.

The Court can specify that part of the Sentence can be served in the community, on parole.

For example a 12 month Sentence can have a 9 month non-parole period (in jail) with 3 months on parole.

As a last resort the Court can impose a Sentence, say 12 months, and then suspend the whole of the Sentence on condition that the offender enter a Section 12 Bond to be of good behaviour.

If the Section 12 Bond is breached the Court can order the Sentence to be served by full time jail.