On the day of the preliminary examination the defendant will be asked to admit or deny the charge. If the defendant admits that she or he is guilty of a minor indictable charge at this hearing, the magistrate may proceed to sentence the defendant.
If the defendant admits that she or he is guilty of a major indictable charge at this hearing, the magistrate may determine and impose sentence on the defendant [see Magistrates Court Act 1991 (SA) s 9(ab) and Summary Procedure Act 1921 (SA) s 108 (1)].
Both the defendant and the DPP (if they wish to consent to sentencing by a magistrate) will need to complete a Form 9A [see Magistrates Court Rules 1992 r 22A].
However, the magistrate may send the case to either the District or Supreme Court for sentencing (committed for sentence) if:
- it is an offence of treason or murder or an attempt or conspiracy to commit or assault with intent to commit, either of those offences; or
- there is not the required consent; or
- the magistrate is of the opinion that the interests of justice require committal to a superior court (this may because magistrates are limited to sentencing to a maximum of 5 years imprisonment for one offence, or 10 years imprisonment for more than one offence [see Criminal Law (Sentencing) Act 1988 (SA) s 19].)
A defendant should not plead guilty at the preliminary hearing until she or he has had properlegal advice.
Sentencing is unlikely to proceed straight away. If the defendant is on bail the defendant may be remanded on continuing bail to appear for sentencing at a later date. If the defendant has not been given bail the defendant is remanded in custody and is brought to the court on the day of sentencing by the authorities. See: Bail.
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.