Unless a defendant charged with a minor indictable offence elects to be tried in the District Court, the case will be dealt with in the Magistrates Court as though it were a summary offence [section 108(1) and section 117(1) Criminal Procedure Act 1921 (SA)].
If an election is made the case is set down for a pre-committal hearing and is dealt with as though it were a major indictable offence. If no election is made the case follows the procedures of the Magistrates Court for summary offences, see Summary Offences
[For more on procedure see the relevant Court's Criminal Rules, the Criminal Procedure Act 1921 (SA) and the Juries Act 1927 (SA)].
Before deciding whether to elect to have the case dealt with in the District Court or not, the defendant should consider the following factors:
- in the District Court, the decision as to whether the verdict is guilty or not guilty is made by a jury
- the defence may be better able to present its case before a jury, being able to rely on the evidence given in the committal proceedings
- the penalties a magistrate can impose on each charge are lower than those a judge can impose after a jury trial.
This consideration should always be made with the assistance of legal advice.
Election : Last Revised: Wed Feb 28th 2018
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