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Public Defenders

​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:
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