Where a defendant pleads guilty during an answer charge hearing , sentencing may occur in the Magistrates Court provided a Form 9A has been submitted [see Magistrates Court Rules 1992 r22A].
This happens only if both the Director of Public Prosecutions and the defendant consent and without considering the strength or otherwise of the prosecution case.
The magistrate can also commit the defendant to a superior court for sentencing [Criminal Procedure Act 1921 (SA) s 113(2)(c)], and may send the case to the Supreme Court specifically for sentencing if:
- it is an offence of treason, murder, or an attempt or conspiracy to commit or assault with intent to commit either of those offences; or
- there is not the required consent; or
- the magistrate is of the opinion that the interests of justice require committal to a superior court (this may be because magistrates are limited to sentencing a maximum of 5 years imprisonment for one offence, or 10 years imprisonment for more than one offence [see Magistrates Court Act 1991 (SA) s 9].
Sentencing is unlikely to proceed straight away. If the defendant is on bail the defendant may be remanded on continuing bail to appear for sentencing at a later date. If the defendant has not been granted bail they are remanded in custody and brought to the court on the day of sentencing by the authorities.
Once a defendant has been committed to a superior court for sentencing, they may only change their plea in the superior court with the permission of the court [Criminal Procedure Act 1921 (SA) s 119].
A defendant should obtain legal advice before pleading guilty at an answer charge hearing.
Committal for Sentence : Last Revised: Wed Mar 7th 2018
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