Rule 26 of the Magistrates Court Rules 1992 (SA) state that the prosecution and the defendant must speak with each other candidly to see if the case can be resolved without a trial. The prosecution may decide after these discussions not to proceed with the charge or change the charge to one which the defendant accepts that she or he is guilty of. The prosecution should tell the defendant in detail what the prosecution witnesses will say at a trial so that the defendant can reflect upon whether she or he will still plead not guilty. The defendant is not required to reveal to the prosecution what her or his defence is (except an alibi [see r 26.03]) or what evidence she or he might present at trial (except notice of an intention to present evidence of discreditable conduct of a co-defendant [see r 26.13 and Evidence Act 1929 (SA) s 34P(4)] (although if this is not done it reduces the chances that the matter will resolve without a trial).
The court may require the prosecution and defendant (or her or his lawyer) attend a pre-trial conference to ensure compliance with the above [see r 26.05]. Pre-trial conferences usually take place in closed court (that is, they are not open to the public) and nothing said or not said by a defendant (or her or his lawyer) can be used at a later trial [see rr 26.06-26.07].
If the discussions do not resolve the case and a trial should take place, the defendant and the prosecution must discuss how long the trial may last, whether any facts are not disputed and can perhaps be presented to the court as agreed between prosecution and the defence and how else the court's time can be put to best use during the trial.
The court must be told of the outcome of these points before it will set a trial date.
The direct Police Prosecution numbers for the main metropolitan areas are:
- Adelaide – ph: (08) 8207 5858 or ph: (08) 7322 3904
- Christies Beach – ph: (08) 8392 9116
- Elizabeth – ph: (08) 8207 9416
- Port Adelaide – ph: 8207 6440
Mount Gambier Police Prosecution can be contacted on – ph: (08) 8735 1040.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.