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Flashcards in The Criminal Trial Processs Deck (85)
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Which section of constitution outlines the division of power



What are the main factors influencing a court case

  • The seriousness of the matter (summary or indictable)
  • Whether the matter is being heard initially or on appeal
  • The nature of the offence
  • The age of the accused
  • Type of hearing (bail, committal, trial)
  • Whether the matter falls under state or federal law


What is local courts original jurisdiction

  • Hear summary offences
  • and conducts committal proceedings


What are summary offences

  • Offences that can be dealt with by a single judge
  • without a jury and
  • do not require preliminary (committal) hearing


What's a committal hearing

Is a an inquiry held in the Local or Magistrate’s Court to determine whether there is enough evidence against the defendant to warrant a trial in a higher court (establish prima facie)


What are the three categories of indictable offences under Criminal Procedures Amendment (Indictable Offences) Act 1995 NSW

  • Table one offences – offences dealt with summarily unless accused or prosecution elects to have the matter dealt with by a judge and jury
  • Table two offences – offences which are dealt with summarily unless the prosecution decides to have offence dealt with by judge and jury
  • Strictly indictable offences – offences which are most serious and must be dealt with by a judge and jury


What is appellate jurisdiction

Is the power for a court to hear appeals of the decisions of lower courts and to reject affirm of modify those decisions


What civil matters can local court hear

Matters up to value of $100,000


What are the advantages of local court

  • Matter is heard much faster
  • Cost of hearing is lower


What's the role of the coroners courts

Handles inquiries into deaths under certain circumstances


What is original jurisdiction of the District Court

  • Serious criminal matters i.e. all indictable offences except murder and other very serious crimes.
  • Offences such as sexual assault, robbery and serious driving offences.


What civil matters does District Court hear

Up to $750,000


What is the District Court's appellate jurisdiction

Over Local Court


What is original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court

very serious indictable offences such as murder


What is cap on civil matters in Supreme Court

No cap


What must appellant show for appeal to succeed

  • Appellant (person bringing appeal) must show that the lower court judge either wrongly used or misinterpreted the law.
  • No new evidence or fact can be heard


What is the purpose of appeals

Appeals seek to minimise the effects of wrong decisions made by a judge or magistrate


What matters does the Federal Court hear

  • Specialist court and deals with criminal matters that fall under Commonwealth law
  • Such as breaches of Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)


What matters does the Family Court

Deals with family law matters such as divorce applications and parenting disputes


What is the original jurisdiction of the High Court

  • Over matters involving Commonwealth laws or concerning the interpretation of the Constitution of Australia and the
  • Constitutional validity of laws


What is the appellate jurisdiction of High Court

Hear appeals from all state and territory Supreme Courts, such as appeals from the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal as well as the Federal Court of Australia


Purpose of Crimes (sentencing procedure) Amendment Act 2018

  • Introduced discounted sentences for early guilty pleas
  • 25% if before committal hearing 
  • 10% if 14 days before first day of trial
  • 5% otherwise
  • Improved resource efficiency


What are the Drug Courts

Specialist courts that deal with offenders who are dependent on drugs


Why were Drug Courts introduced

  • Emerged in late 1999 due to disenchantment with traditional criminal justice approaches
  • Seeks to provide solutions to the cycle of drug use and crime


How are offenders referred to Drug Court

  • Offenders are referred to the Drug Court from the District and Local Court on entering a guilty plea (Diversionary measure).


What is the process after offenders have been reffered to Drug Court

  • They then spend a minimum of 2 weeks in custody to detoxify and for their individual treatment plan to be prepared.
  • Offender returns to the Drug Court to receive sentence for the charges and this is then suspended on entering into their ‘Treatment and Case Plan’
  • Plan involves drug testing three times per week, weekly home visits by Parole Officer, weekly counselling, pharmacotherapy if prescribed


What are some of the criteria that offenders must meet to be eligible for the Drug Court

  • Be highly likely to be sentenced to full-time imprisonment if convicted
  • Have indicated that he or she will plead guilty to the offence
  • Be dependent on the use of prohibited drugs
  • Reside within the specified catchment area
  • Be referred from a court in the catchment area
  • Be 18 years of age or over
  • Be willing to participate
  • Not be charged with a violent, sexual offence or an offence under Division 2 Part 2 of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act (1985)
  • Not be suffering a mental condition that could prevent or restrict participation in the program.


What are the advanatages of the Drug Court

  • Less expensive than imprisoning offenders (resource efficient)
  • Introduction driven by community concerns (responsive)
  • Lower re-offending rate (achieving just outcomes)


What are the disadvantages of the Drug Court

  • Currently only two in NSW therefore many people don’t get access
  • People may argue that someone on drugs will get off easier for committing the same offence as someone who wasn’t


Media article on Drug Court

The Guardian art 2015 ‘Justice done differently how the NSW Drug Court transforms lives’