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In NSW, if you are charged with summary offences, the matter will be finalised in the Local Court. If you plead not guilty to the charge or charges, it will be set down for a Defended hearing.
A defended hearing (also known as a summary hearing) is a local court hearing in which the police must prove the charges against you. This occurs when the prosecution introduces their available witnesses, electronic evidence and other admissible evidence against you. At the end of the defended hearing, a magistrate will find you guilty or not guilty of the offence/s.
The rules governing defended hearings are set out in the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 and in the Evidence Act 1995.
Summary offences are less serious offences and are covered by the Summary Offences Act 1988 (NSW). They are dealt with in the Local Court of NSW and have a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment.
Some indictable offences can also be dealt with summarily if the prosecution and accused agree to keep them in the Local Court. These are called table offences.
Examples of summary offences:
A number of procedural matters must occur prior to a defended hearing in the Local Court of NSW. The first day you appear in Court is known as a first mention. If you plead not guilty, the magistrate or registrar will usually order the prosecution to provide the brief of evidence to you. After you have received the brief of evidence and carefully read it, you should usually contact a criminal defence lawyer. This is because the brief of evidence may raise issues of admissibility. For example, if the police interview was conducted whilst the accused was heavily under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the interview may be excluded from evidence.
After this, the matter will come back Court for a second mention, and the Court will set the matter down for a defended hearing. At this mention, you are required to file a notice of listing, which among other things, informs the Court which witnesses you require for cross-examination.
At the defended hearing, both the prosecution and defence are allowed to introduce evidence. The prosecution calls their evidence first, and the defence has the opportunity to test the evidence. This is usually done by cross-examination of the witnesses. There are sometimes legal arguments regarding the admissibility of evidence.
At the end of the prosecution case, the defence has an opportunity to make submissions as to why the case should be dismissed. These submissions are known as May v Sullivan submissions. May v Sullivan submissions should be made cautiously as if these submissions are unsuccessful, and you may not have the opportunity to introduce your own evidence.
The next step is discretionary. The defence has an opportunity to present its own evidence. The decision to introduce or present evidence is on a case-by-case basis and should be made purely by an expert defence lawyer. There is a strategic decision and is very important in a defended hearing.
After hearing all the evidence, the magistrate will deliver a judgment, that is, the decision. If you are found guilty, the magistrate will set the matter down for a sentence on a future date or sentence you immediately. If you are found not guilty, the case is over against you.
If you believe the magistrate’s decision is unfair or that they have made an error of law, you can file an appeal to the District Court. This can be done by the prosecution also. The appeal to the District Court of NSW must be filed within 28 days of the decision.
Our principal, criminal defence lawyer Mohammad Khan, has successfully worked on some of Australia’s most complex hearings and appeals, including appeals for terrorism offences. Book a free 15-minute phone conference with us, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a website inquiry.
If the police have charged you or a loved one, you must attend court. Appearing in court for a criminal charge is usually daunting. Let us help you make the process easier. Here are 10 reasons to choose our team of criminal lawyers from Lyons Law Group;
Result-focused criminal lawyers
Our team will work to achieve the best result for you in the shortest time possible. However, we do aim to provide quality over quantity service to you. Our criminal lawyers appear in all criminal and traffic matters, including trials, sentencing, bail applications, and apprehended violence orders. We are a result-focused firm of lawyers.
At Lyons Law, we do not make any unrealistic promises for results. You will be advised on the most realistic results achievable in your case, including acquittals of all charges against you. Nevertheless, you can be sure that our team will work extremely hard to achieve the best possible outcome for you.
Proven Track Record
Our experienced defence lawyers are passionate about representing their clients and achieving the best outcome. Lyons Law is a team of solicitors who are dedicated, and with our support staff, you can be confident of the highest quality of legal representation. We have an exceptional track record of results. We provide our outstanding client service at an affordable rate for our clients.
We always let our clients know how much their cases will cost from the beginning. This makes it easier for them to decide whether or not they want to proceed with the case. Not only do we offer fixed fees for many types of criminal cases and services, but also free first phone consultations. In addition, our firm offers fixed fees applicable to a wide range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, fraud, drug possession, assault, and AVOs.
Free First Conference
For all of those individuals who are going to court, we offer a free first 15-minute phone conference with one of our senior criminal defence lawyer. It is best you email our office all your relevant documents before a conference so criminal lawyers can provide the best advice within that time frame.
Highly experienced criminal defence lawyer
Lyons Law Group is a highly experienced team of criminal lawyers. Our team is led by Mohammad Khan, who is one of the best criminal lawyers in Sydney. He has represented clients in some of Australia’s most high-profile cases and was under the direct tutelage of Australia’s leading criminal lawyer Adam Houda.
Moreover, our team has worked and successfully represented clients on highly complex trials and sentences in NSW.
Work closely with Australia’s leading criminal law barrister
We work closely with some of Australia’s leading criminal law barristers. Barristers are usually instructed in more serious matters, and their experience and input can be invaluable to your case. The barristers we regularly instruct range from Queen’s counsels, Senior counsels and highly experienced junior-senior counsels.
Specialist for District and Supreme Court trials
Our team of sydney criminal lawyers have worked on numerous District and Supreme Court trials in NSW. We have worked on extremely complex criminal law trials that require impeccable preparation and understanding of the law.
Specialist for bail applications in NSW
Lyons Law Group is a highly experienced team of bail lawyers. We have regularly obtained bail for clients for extremely serious charges that carry life sentences. For types of charges, bail is usually denied by a Court.
In house Experts
Our criminal lawyers have in-house investigators with decades of law enforcement experience and assist our team with process service, background checks, integrity testing, investigations, surveillance, and bug detection.
For the preparation of jury trials and defended hearings, these services can be utilised on behalf of our client to achieve the best result.
Appearance at all Courts in NSW
From Broken Hill to Waverly, our criminal lawyers appear in all courts throughout New South Wales.