What is a Committal Hearing?

A committal hearing is a hearing conducted in the Local Court to determine whether or not an accused person should be committed to stand trial.

The importance of a committal hearing, where appropriate, cannot be overstated.

A criminal law specialist can advise whether to hold a committal hearing or not. The question is answered based on experience, the contents of the brief of evidence, and the desired outcome.

A committal hearing can be used to:

  • Have the charges dismissed, and the accused person discharged without the need to go to trial by jury;
  • Gather evidence so that the accused person gets a fair trial;
  • Gather evidence to determine whether it is appropriate to continue to defend the matter, or;
  • Make a No Bill application to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

 

Committal Hearing Application

If you are charged with a matter that is strictly indictable or a table 1 offence (or if you do not know what that means!) then you should seek immediate advice about whether application should be made for a committal hearing.

There is no right to have a committal hearing – application must be made that satisfies the legislative requirements applicable.

Contact our criminal law experts 24/7 for advice about the best way to proceed.

We attend Courts all over NSW. We also accept legal aid assignments for criminal trial matters. Even if your matter is in a country or rural location, having one of our experts appear for you could make the difference to the outcome. You may also want a criminal defence lawyer who is not part of your local community to look after your matter.

Committal Hearing FAQs

Why Have A Committal Hearing?

To afford the accused person fairness at their trial by exploring evidence in certain areas in a local court hearing prior to a trial. A committal hearing might also result in the accused person being discharged because the evidence is incapable of satisfying a properly instructed jury. Another example of a worthwhile committal hearing is where as a result of the evidence obtained it leads to a ‘no bill’ application being made so that the charges are withdrawn prior to trial.

How Do You Have A Committal Hearing?

An experienced criminal lawyer will recognize whether or not it is desirable to run a committal hearing, and make application for the cross examination of witnesses on specific areas of cross examination. Depending on which section of the legislation applies, the defence must establish that there are either special reasons or substantial reasons why in the interests of justice a witness should be cross examined.Deciding whether or not to apply for a committal hearing is something that should be determined by a criminal law specialist, preferably an accredited specialist in criminal law. Failure to appreciate the potential benefits of a committal hearing and failure to make proper application can severely prejudice an accused person.