This report is about improving committal and other pre-trial indictable procedures to reduce trauma for victims and witnesses, improve efficiency in the criminal justice system, and ensure fair trial rights.
Each year, approximately 3000 criminal cases go through some form of committal proceeding. Around 30 per cent of these resolve in the Magistrates’ Court. Around 60 per cent are committed to the County Court, around half of these for trial, the other half for sentence following a plea of guilty in the Magistrates’ Court.
Inadequate data collection also makes it difficult to identify when and why avoidable delay occurs. As such, data collection systems should be improved so that the performance of the criminal justice system can be better understood and evaluated.
- The case management systems used by the Magistrates’ and Children’s Courts should be linked with the higher courts’ case management systems to enable the creation of a single electronic case file for indictable cases.
- The Director of Public Prosecutions and Victoria Legal Aid should be provided with additional funding to ensure experienced practitioners have oversight of committal proceedings from the outset and are responsible for the conduct of matters until final resolution, including in the higher courts.