The Summary Procedure (Indictable Offences) Amendment Act 2017 commences on 5 March 2018. A number of legislative, process and procedural changes make up the reform.
There are a number of changes:
- The Summary Procedure Act 1921 has been renamed the Criminal Procedure Act 1921.
- Introduction of a staged disclosure scheme that allows for earlier disclosure of primary evidence to defence.
- Giving the Court discretion to set adjournment timeframes that reflect the needs of individual cases.
- Requiring major indictable matters to be the subject of a ‘charge determination’ by the Director of Public Prosecutions (the DPP) prior to the commencement of committal proceedings.
- Requiring case statements to be filed by prosecution and defence prior to a matter being arraigned in the Supreme Court or District Court.
- Changing the way subpoenas are issued for major indictable matters.
- Up to 10% to 40% discount on sentences where guilty pleas are entered early, depending on the timing.
The reform will change how major indictable matters commenced by SAPOL are managed within the criminal justice system, allowing the Magistrates Court to set timeframes based on the needs of each specific case and aiming to provide defendants with material that outlines the evidence against them. The changes aim to support earlier resolution of major criminal matters.