Former Supreme Court Justice, the Hon Brian Martin AO QC, has been appointed to undertake an independent review of the former Labor Government’s Major Indictable Reforms.
Mr Martin will investigate the operation and impact of the first 12 months of the reforms, which have changed the way major indictable matters are dealt with in the criminal justice system.
The reforms were initially designed to facilitate earlier resolution of major criminal matters and also improve the flow of cases through the courts, however the legal community has advised the Government the reforms are having the opposite effect.
Attorney-General Vickie Chapman announced today the terms of reference for the review, as well as a period of public consultation.
The Major Indictable Reforms commenced on 5 March 2018 when the Summary Procedure (Indictable Offences) Amendment Act 2017 came into operation.
The changes were designed to enable courts, police, forensic services and prosecutors to focus their resources where they are most needed and ease the pressure on the state’s court system.
“A review of the first year of the reforms is timely and appropriate. After 12 months, there is quantitative data available to determine the impact of the reforms, and to enable a reliable comparison to be made between the current system and the system that was in operation prior to the reforms,” Ms Chapman said.
“Mr Martin will consider the effectiveness of the reforms, compare them to the former process, determine what, if any, efficiencies have been realised as a result of the reforms and the extent to which the intended outcomes have been achieved.”
Ms Chapman said she expected Mr Martin would consult with key stakeholders including the judiciary, South Australia Police, the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Legal Services Commission, Law Society and the South Australian Bar Association.
A YourSAy public consultation program will also be held to ensure the community can contribute to the discussion and inform Mr Martin’s recommendations.
Mr Martin has advised the Government that his review of the Sentence Reduction Scheme is well advanced. As they are, to some extent, linked because the reforms might impact on the Sentence Reduction Scheme, he is comfortable undertaking both reviews at the same time, until he finalises his review of the Sentencing Reduction Scheme.