On Monday 30 April 2018, a new legislative scheme for all indictable matters commenced, involving the abolition of committals as we know them and, for state charges, the introduction of statutory caps on discounts for the utilitarian benefit of a plea of guilty.
Defence practitioners are statutorily obliged to explain aspects of the scheme, both orally and in writing, to their clients. Four agencies (Public Defenders, Legal Aid NSW, the Law Society and the Aboriginal Legal Service) have jointly drafted a brief explanation to practitioners (EAGP s.72(2) Note to Practitioners) and model explanations for accused; (EAGP s.72(2) Explanation if caps apply and EAGP s.72(2) Explanation if no caps apply). The Chief Magistrate of the Local Court has updated the Local Court Practice Note for Committal Proceedings and the NSW Police Commissioner and the NSW DPP have agreed a protocol concerning their relationship and respective responsibilities pursuant to the new committal procedure (The DPP/Police Protocol). The Second Reading Speech of the Bill amending the relevant legislation is also attached. The Public Defenders have a paper explaining the scheme (Early Guilty Pleas: A New Ball Game).
The Table of Common Charge Options is a tool for the use of all practitioners which has been prepared by the Public Defenders with significant input from the Legal Aid and ODPP EAGP working groups. It is designed for all practitioners to assist with the EAGP scheme by providing a "ready reckoner" of a very wide range of offences and alternatives from a variety of statutes and the common law. It includes information about maximum penalties, standard non-parole periods and whether the offences are strictly indictable, Table 1, Table 2 or summary.