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​Early Appropriate Guilty Pleas

 

On Monday 30 April 2018, a new legislative scheme for all indictable matters commenced, involving the abolition of committals as we know them and, for state charges, the introduction of statutory caps on discounts for the utilitarian benefit of a plea of guilty.  

To assist practitioners, the Public Defenders have a paper explaining the scheme (Early Guilty Pleas: A New Ball Game). Defence practitioners are statutorily obliged to explain aspects of the scheme, both orally and in writing, to their clients. Four agencies (Public Defenders, Legal Aid NSW, the Law Society and the Aboriginal Legal Service) have jointly drafted a brief explanation to practitioners (EAGP s.72(2) Note to Practitioners) and model explanations for accused; (EAGP s.72(2) Explanation if caps apply and EAGP s.72(2) Explanation if no caps apply). The Chief Magistrate of the Local Court has updated the Local Court Practice Note for Committal Proceedings and the NSW Police Commissioner and the NSW DPP have agreed a protocol concerning their relationship and respective responsibilities pursuant to the new committal procedure (The DPP/Police Protocol). The Second Reading Speech of the Bill amending the relevant legislation is also attached.

All of these documents are available here:

UPDATED –  Table of Common Charge Options – now includes HRO and Child Protection Register status

The Table of Common Charge Options has now been updated and contains information about whether an offence is an index offence under the Crimes (High Risk Offenders) Act 2006 (CHROA) or a registrable offence under the Child Protection (Offenders Registration) Act 2000 (CPORA).

The table sets out hundreds of common charges across different categories including sexual, drug, theft, violence and public justice offences.  It is in the form of a "ready reckoner" showing alternative offences, maximum penalties, standard non-parole periods, whether the offence is strictly indictable, Table 1, Table 2 or summary and, now, the status of the offence under CHROA and CPORA.

Early Guilty Pleas: A New Ball Game, by Mark Ierace SC, Senior Public Defender
Local Court Practice Note for Committal Proceedings
The DPP/Police Protocol

Model Explanations to clients
EAGP s.72(2) Note to Practitioners
EAGP s.72(2) Explanation if caps apply
EAGP s.72(2) Explanation if no caps apply 
2nd Reading speech: Justice Legislation Amendment (Committals and Guilty Pleas) Bill 2017

Legal Aid NSW and the Office of the DPP have jointly prepared a detailed guide to the scheme entitled, "Best Practice Guide to Case Conferencing".  It is available here:  
Best Practice Guide to Case Conferencing

Legal Aid NSW has further material, including an explanatory paper, on their website at:
https://www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au/for-lawyers/resources-and-tools/early-appropriate-guilty-pleas