The Magistrates’ Court Criminal Procedure (Amendment No. 3) Rules 2012 took effect last Tuesday, 1st January 2013.
The amendments specify that it’s acceptable for an accused person who is not on bail to receive an adjournment at first mention without the necessity for an appearance at court, provided they:
a) apply for the adjournment as soon as possible, but no later than 3:00pm the day before: and
b) receive confirmation from the Court Registry that the matter will be adjourned administratively.
After first mention, the amendments create a presumption that the accused will attend subsequent mentions, whether or not they intend to request further adjournments.
These Rules formalise the practices that happen now. Still, it’s good that they’re written down somewhere for all to see. Rule 31D allows the Court to dispense with these presumptions when appropriate, either before or after the mention date.
The new provisions can be found here.