I’ve just been handed a Notice to Appear – what is this?
In a wide range of offences now, police are empowered to require an accused person to attend at the Arrest Court in Roma Street, Brisbane or in a Regional Magistrates Court by issuing a document called a Notice to Appear.
That Notice to Appear is a notebook sized document that is handwritten by the arresting police officer. It commands the appearance of the person whose name appears on the document before a relevant Magistrates Court at a particular date and time.
The Notice to Appear is often the only document that an accused will have to indicate the charge which is to be brought against that person. The issue of a Notice to Appear inevitably leads to a Court appearance.
What then does the accused do about the Notice to Appear? Once issued with that document, an accused person is bound to appear before the Court mentioned in the Notice.
Often at this first Court appearance the accused person will not have seen or been issued with a formal Complaint issued by police and certainly will not have access to any of the document evidence that may have been compiled by the arresting Police officer.
Because of this set of circumstances it is almost certainly open to the accused person to request an adjournment from the Court for a period of time to allow the accused to obtain legal advice.
Should it be the case that you are issued with a Notice to Appear and are required to present before a Court, then it is advisable to seek early legal advice upon the charges being brought against you and some advice from an experienced solicitor about conducting this first appearance.
An accused person on their first appearance will be given an opportunity to obtain legal advice and possibly to conduct some case conferencing with the prosecutions branch and that will require a short to medium term adjournment of the proceedings.
You should take your Notice to Appear with you to the Court and be early enough to be able to present yourself to the Prosecutor in the Court in which you are to appear. You should obtain information from the Court Officer (particularly if appearing in Brisbane) of the number that has been allocated to your particular file so that you can mention that number to the prosecutor (the Arrest Court in Roma street Brisbane often has more than 100 files to deal with on any morning).
Upon presentation to the Prosecutor they will pull your file from the pile and place it on the bar table in an order which would roughly represent the order in which the appearances will be done.
It is usual in Queensland Courts for represented parties (those appearing with their Solicitor) to be mentioned in the Court prior to unrepresented parties and so having your solicitor with you at the appearance will help conclude the proceedings much more quickly.
In the event that you are required to appear on your own then firstly, you should address the Court as “Your Honour” and respectfully request an adjournment for a period of two (2) weeks to obtain legal advice or to potentially liaise with the prosecution in relation to the matter.
Provided it is your first appearance in response to the Notice to Appear you will almost certainly be granted the adjournment and bail in respect of the charges that you face.
Should it be the case however that you have had some difficulty with prior bail or appearances in other matters, then the issue of your bail might well be opposed by the Prosecution. In these circumstances, you will require some assistance at that first appearance to obtain any available bail in respect of the charges mentioned in your Notice to Appear.
We strongly recommend that you contact us should you require any assistance with a Notice to Appear.
Freedom Law – 1300 365 108
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