The Crimes Act 1900 is the legislation governing ‘Indictable Offences.’ As a starting point, an ‘Indictable Offence’ is an offence which is heard in a Higher Court.
‘Indictable Offences’ are offences which carry hefty penalties (if such offences are dealt with in the higher court), unlike ‘summary offences’ which are heard and finalised in the Local Court before a Local Court Magistrate.
Criminal Procedure Act 1986 notes at section 3 of the Act, that an offence that may be prosecuted on indictment is an ‘Indictable Offence.’ The reason as to why section 3 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 states ‘that may be prosecuted on indictment’ is because some Indictable Offences such as ‘Larceny’ can be dealt with either Summarily before a Local Court or on Indictment in a higher Court (Such as the District Court).
Can Indictable offences be dealt with Summarily?
When an Indictable Offence (charge) is laid, both the defence and the prosecution often come to an agreement that the matter should be heard and finalised in the Local Court, which means that the maximum penalty which the Court can impose (if dealt with summarily) in the Local Court is 2 years Imprisonment. When an indictable offence is heard and finalised in the Local Court in NSW, such matter will be prosecuted by the NSW police.
Usually, if the allegation to an offence is serious or if either the defence (or prosecution) do not agree for the matter to be dealt with summarily, it will then proceed to a higher court for the matter to be finalised.
If the matter is proceeding to a Higher Court, then the matter will go through a different Court process in the Local Court (which is called the EAGP process) as the matter will go through the Charge Certification and Case Conference stages.
Once an Indictable Offence has been committed to a Higher Court, the matter proceeds to Trial (if the defendant maintains the plea of not guilty) or it can also proceed to Sentence (if the defendant decides to enter a plea of guilty).
It should be noted that once an indictable offence has been committed to a Higher Court, one of the most important considerations is that the offence(s) will then attract more serious penalties and the penalties which the higher court can impose for the indictable offence(s) are set out in the Crimes Act 1900.
Is there a Limitation Period?
There is No limitation period which applies with respect to laying of charges which are indictable offences.
It is very important that you speak with a lawyer so that you can get the appropriate legal advice which you require prior to going to court.
Our team of experienced solicitors are there for you and can help you answer all your questions, so be sure to contact Nicopoulos Sabbagh Lawyers.
*This article correctly reflects the Laws of NSW as at 11TH October 2022.
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