More from: practice

e-briefs from the OPP

The CBA has been consulting with the OPP on a proposal to pilot electronic briefs. John Cain, the solicitor to the OPP came and spoke to the Committee about it. There has long been concern that electronic briefs will essentially involve cost shifting to counsel who would ultimately bear the cost of printing. Whilst we might all need to recognise that briefs are becoming more digital – the sky is not going to fall in – we have been reassured that the use of electronic briefing will be carefully piloted to ensure and that the sorts of concerns we have raised as to costs and the like will be addressed. We would welcome any feedback about members’ experience.

Plea hearing time estimates

The County Court has requested some assistance in managing plea hearings. The Court allocates hearings according to estimates, usually according to whether the hearing will last for 1 hr, 2 hrs, 1/2 day or 1 day (or more).

Members are requested to include a short indication at the start of their written outline of plea submissions indicating whether the hearing is estimated to run for 1 hr, 2 hrs, 1/2 day or 1 day (or more). NB – written outlines are due at least 2 days before the hearing (Practice Note 7.12).

COA Appeal periods over Xmas / NY

The Court of Appeal registry’s approach to the calculation of time over the vacation period (24 December to 9 January) will be as follows.

The Supreme Court (Criminal Procedure) Rules 2008 provide that in calculating the time fixed by or under the Rules, the period from 24 December to 9 January next following shall be excluded, unless the Court orders otherwise (r 1.09). The Court may extend any time fixed by or under the Rules (r 1.08).

Sections 275, 279 and 288 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009 set the time limits for filing applications for leave to appeal against conviction, sentence or sentence and conviction. Section 298 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009 sets the time limits for filing an application for leave to appeal against an interlocutory decision. These time limits are not fixed by or under the Rules and so the provisions of the Supreme Court (Criminal Procedure) Rules 2008 relating to the exclusion of the vacation period in calculating time do not apply. This means that the time for filing an application for leave to appeal, pursuant to ss 275, 279, 288 and 298 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009, continues to run over the vacation period.

The usual provisions with respect to any application for extension of the 28 day period pursuant to s 313 of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009 will apply.

Practice Direction 2 of 2011 (1st Rev) is currently under revision and will be reissued in due course to reflect the above.


Questions should be directed to the Court of Appeal Registry.

All prisoners to appear by videolink from 12 Sep 16

The Justice Legislation (Evidence and other Acts) Amendment Act 2016 (‘the amending Act’) will come into effect on 12 September 2016. The amending Act will change the Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1958 (‘the Act’) in relation to appearances of an accused being held in custody.

Section 42JA, covers the appearance of an adult accused before the Court. The legislation introduces a presumption that an accused will appear via an AVL for all hearings with the exception of listings outlined in section 42JA(2) and (3). The exceptions relate to the following hearings:

  • An inquiry into the accused’s fitness to plead;
  • A hearing where the accused is pleading not guilty (i.e. a contest);
  • Committal hearing;
  • First hearing of accused following arrest, when the accused is required to be brought before the Court to be dealt with according to law;
  • Where a Court has directed the physical attendance of the accused in the interests of justice.

The Court’s website has been updated with AVL information about the changes, including:

  • Chief Magistrate Practice Direction 11 of 2016;
  • A practitioners guide to AVL hearings;
  • FAQ’s;
  • New Form 45 – application for physical appearance;
  • New Form 46 – application for appearance by AVL;
  • A list of each court venue’s AVL capacity and timetable for installation; and
  • The daily list of scheduled AVL hearings.

Testing electronic evidence in court

The County Court has opened courtroom 2.10 daily with a tipstaff in attendance to test any disks, laptops or other electronic evidence to be used during a trial. The Court is trying to avoid wasted court time due to parties testing media or media not ‘playing’. This problem is aggravated when parties attempt to play untested media for the first time after empanelment.

** Members should be aware that the Court will be increasingly critical of parties who do not test media prior to the hearing.

Jury reasoning in joint and separate trials of institutional child sexual abuse

You are invited to attend the launch of a major new research report commissioned by the Royal Commission into Institutional Reponses to Child Sexual Abuse. The launch will be hosted by the Royal Commission’s Chair, The Hon Justice Peter McClellan AM and the authors, Professors Jane Goodman-Delahunty and Annie Cossins, will present the research and their findings, followed by a short Q&A. Jury reasoning in joint and separate trials of institutional child sexual abuse
optionbit demokonto Date: Thursday 26 May 2016 at 5:30-7pm followed by light refreshments
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Sentencing statistics – SACStat

The Sentencing Advisory Council has released updated higher courts sentencing statistics on SACStat, the Council’s online statistical tool. SACStat – Higher Courts now covers sentencing for the five years to 30 June 2015. It presents aggregate data for nearly 200 offences sentenced in the Supreme and County Courts of Victoria.

SACStat is suitable for tablet devices, increasing its usability by legal practitioners in court.

Both SACStat and Sentencing Snapshots contain data on sentence type and sentence quantum (sentence length or fine amount) for cases and charges of a particular offence. However, important differences between the two products include:

  • the range of offences (SACStat – Higher Courts covers 198 offences compared with 31 offences for Sentencing Snapshots)
  • the currency of data (SACStat – Higher Courts is updated annually and Sentencing Snapshots are updated every second year)
  • offender demographics (SACStat – Higher Courts presents data according to the age and gender of offenders)
  • longitudinal data (Sentencing Snapshots present data disaggregated by financial year).

SACStat can be accessed from the SAC website.

Short time until trial

The delays experienced between committal and trial in recent times have been greatly reduced. In some cases now, the time until trial can be quite short (eg, 2 months). Please contact Simon Moglia on with examples of any problems arising due to the short time. The CBA will then give feedback to the Court.

Trials not proceeding

Counsel are reminded to ensure that the Court is notified if a trial settles or is otherwise not able to proceed. This is a matter of courtesy, but also avoids the waste of Court resources in preparation for trial.

CCO mental health assessment pilot

Community Corrections at Melbourne and Sunshine Magistrates’ Courts will commence a mental health assessment pilot in December 2015. It will run for 12 months. The pilot involves Forensicare clinical staff  being on site to screen the mental health needs of offenders and to advise Corrections during a CCO assessment process. The aim is to ensure resources are targeted effectively to those offenders on CCOs who have demonstrated needs.

Members should be aware of this new service. The pilot will be evaluated later in the 12 month period. Please send any comments to the CBA Committee who will take them up with Corrections when the evaluation commences.

New videoconferencing system – demonstration

The CBA brings to members’ attention this very important information session. The Court has extended the invitation to the Bar and LIV. Due to the size of the court room numbers are limited to 70 so get your response in quickly.


A demonstration of the features of video conferencing will be held on Friday 27 November in Court 1 of the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court commencing at 10.30am. The time allocated is 30-45 minutes. Numbers will be limited. Follow this link to opcje binarne najprostszy register and reserve a place. We look forward to seeing you there

The Video Conferencing Pilot Project (VCPP) is a trial of modern Video Conferencing technology and processes. It will initially link between courts and prisons and be flexible enough to include external agencies at a later date. The VCPP consists of two phases:

  1. the first phase commenced on the 20 April 2015 and involves increased video conferencing between selected Magistrates’ Courts and Prisons. This has increased the capacity of the system and improve its capability
  2. the second phase commenced on 19 October 2015, for selected legal practitioners, and will allow legal practitioners to conduct video conferences with clients in custody using a desktop, laptop, phone or tablet.

Expanding the use of video conferencing will reduce the need for practitioners to travel to prison and for accused to be moved unnecessarily. Legal Practitioners who are participating in the second phase trial will be in attendance to answer any queries. A demonstration of the video conferencing technology will be provided which will include:

  • how do you book a client video conference?
  • how does a legal practitioner contact their client in a Correctional facility on the day of the hearing by using the video conferencing technology?
  • what happens if a matter is stood down and the case is to be re-linked later in the day?

VCPP External Working Group

Prisoners at MRC

Corrections Victoria have advised that:

  • Professional visits were restored at the MRC on 7 July – a week after the riot – so there should be little/no impediment getting visits access to prisoners.
  • Phone contact whilst initially problematic should no longer be an issue.
  • In the event practitioners are having difficulty in contacting their clients, or if the wish to clarify information about whether an accused has been confined to their cell as a result of the riots, the contact is: Quality & Compliance Manager, MRC – Phone 9217 7606