Hearings and inquiries

Breaches of the Correctional Services Regulations 2001 (SA) are not dealt with by a court but instead either by inquiry by the Chief Executive of the Department or by hearing of a Visiting Tribunal [see Correctional Services Act 1982 (SA) ss 43 and 44]. The Chief Executive may only conduct an inquiry if the prisoner is charged within 8 weeks of the date of the alleged offence [s 43(1) and reg 23(1)], but may at any time before imposing a penalty refer a charge to a Visiting Tribunal for hearing and decision [s 44(1)].

The penalties that can be imposed following an hearing by a Visiting Tribunal [s 44(2)] are greater than those that can be imposed following an inquiry by the Chief Executive [s 43(2)] which in turn are greater than the penalties that can be imposed without any inquiry by the Chief Executive [s 42A(2)] (for minor breaches a prisoner can elect not to have a formal inquiry [regs 18-21]). Examples of penalties that may be imposed include fines, loss of privileges and loss of work.

The Chief Executive conducting an inquiry or Visiting Tribunals holding hearings must follow certain procedures [s 45]. The prisoner must be given notice of the charge and must be allowed to give evidence, to call and cross-examine witnesses and to make submissions, but is not entitled to legal representation in the proceedings [s 45(ba)].

A Visiting Tribunal may be constituted of a Magistrate or a special justice, and each prison may have as many Visiting Tribunals as the Minister for Correctional Services thinks necessary and desirable [s 17].

A prisoner may appeal to a Visiting Tribunal against a penalty imposed by a Chief Executive [s 46(1)]. No further appeal may be made following the decision of the Visiting Tribunal on an appeal [s 46(5)]. However, where a Visiting Tribunal hears and decides a matter in the first instance, there is a limited right to appeal on the ground that the procedural requirements of the Act were not followed by the Visiting Tribunal (i.e. not against the penalty imposed) [see s 47(1)]. If the Visiting Tribunal is constituted by:

  • a Magistrate, the appeal is made to the District Court [s 47(1a)(a)];
  • a special justice, the appeal is made to the Magistrates Court [s 47(1a)(b)].
Hearings and inquiries  :  Last Revised: Tue Nov 20th 2012
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