Election

Unless a defendant charged with a minor indictable offence elects to be tried in the District Court, the case will be dealt with in the Magistrates Court as though it were a summary offence [s 103(3) Summary Procedure Act 1921 (SA)].

If an election is made the case is set down for a preliminary hearing and is dealt with as though it were a major indictable offence, see Preliminary Examination. If no election is made the case follows the procedures of the Magistrates Court for summary offences, see Summary Offences

[For more on procedure see the relevant Court's Criminal Rules, the Summary Procedure Act 1921 (SA) and the Juries Act 1927 (SA)].

Before deciding whether to elect to have the case dealt with in the District Court or not, the defendant should consider the following factors:

  • in the District Court, the decision as to whether the verdict is guilty or not guilty is made by a jury
  • the defence may be better able to present its case before a jury, being able to rely on the evidence given in the committal proceedings
  • the penalties a magistrate can impose on each charge are lower than those a judge can impose after a jury trial.

This consideration should always be made with the assistance of legal advice.

Election  :  Last Revised: Thu Dec 3rd 2015
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