20 July 2021
THE MAGISTRATES COURT OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA
ARRANGEMENTS FOR MAGISTRATES CRIMINAL COURTS FROM 20 JULY 2021
Consistent with SA Government guidelines relating to the management of public places during the COVID-19 health emergency, the Magistrates Court issues the following revised directives to parties and practitioners regarding appearances in Court from 20 July 2021.
These measures will be in operation until further notice. They may be revised as new public health announcements are made.
ATTENDANCE AT COURT BUILDINGS
Parties and practitioners are not to come to the Court, if they have:
- a confirmed case of COVID-19, or
- been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, or
- been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting the results, or
- arrived from overseas or from a cruise ship within the past 14 days, or
- arrived from a State whose border is closed or restricted by the South Australian Government within the past 14 days, or
- a fever or chills (with no alternative illness that explains these symptoms), cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath or loss of taste and smell.
Obligations to appear in court may be excused in certain circumstances. If you do not intend to appear because you honestly and reasonably believe you should self-isolate, you should do the following to support any application you may later wish to make to be excused from your obligation:
- Contact CourtSA by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 8204 2444 to advise the Court.
- If you are represented, tell your lawyer.
- Contact SA Police or the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions by telephone.
- Obtain a certificate from your doctor.
- If you are already at the court building, seek assistance from Sheriff’s Officers to complete a Proof of Attendance Contact Details form.
If a party or practitioner has a condition that makes them vulnerable to infection and for that reason does not feel safe attending at the Court, they should advise the registry by 9.30am on the day before the hearing, provide a direct contact phone number and seek leave of the Court to appear at the hearing by phone.
Parties and practitioners are required to wear a mask whilst moving around court buildings and whilst seated in public waiting areas and public galleries unless exempted under clause 14 Emergency Management (Activities – General) (COVID-19) Direction 2021.
Parties should allow extra time to be processed through point of entry security when entering court buildings due to social distancing measures.
Parties and practitioners are not to approach Court staff and must always maintain a minimum distance from others of 1.5 metres.
No documents are to be handed up in Court.
Where possible, parties should lodge documents via CourtSA https://courtsa.courts.sa.gov.au
Where it is not possible to use CourtSA, documents should be filed in the approved form by email or post (addresses provided at the end of this document).
All emailed documents should be signed and lodged in PDF format. Documents too large for email should be posted or lodged in a registry filing box located in a Magistrates Court building.
All documents including written submissions, must be submitted to the Court no later than 1 clear working day before the hearing.
Communication with the Court is required to be via the CourtSA website (Portal) or email to the relevant court.
Parties and practitioners are reminded of the requirement that all parties must be copied in to any email communication with the Court.
Parties are required to bring their own water as water jugs will not be provided in courtrooms and water fountains are unavailable.
Lecterns have been removed from all courtrooms. However, during trials and lengthy hearings they can be made available upon request to in-court staff.
Hand sanitiser will be provided at the following locations in every courtroom
- Judicial Support Table
- Bar Table
- Witness Box
- Sheriff’s Officer table
ARRANGEMENTS FOR CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS
Due to the current restrictions, abridged timelines will be applied for administrative adjournments and requests to appear remotely.
Listings are continuing as scheduled at this time.
Circuits are continuing as scheduled at this time.
The court asks to be notified of any parties who are at high risk of serious illness should they be exposed to COVID-19, and will give priority to those matters where possible.
For overnight arrest matters.
- Prosecution is to provide an Information with an apprehension report attached so that defence can obtain instructions quickly, and
- All defendants will appear by AVL.
Defendants in custody will appear by AVL or telephone.
Parties are also encouraged to put together an agreed statement of facts when a matter is to be called on for a plea where possible.
Modification of Criminal Court Practices
Prosecution and defence are encouraged to negotiate and disclose as much as possible, to attempt to reach an early resolution of matters.
The court will attempt to enable section 22 conferences where possible. A courtroom may be used to allow for social distancing.
Trials that are unable to proceed due to reasons related to COVID-19 restrictions will be adjourned.
Reports, references and written submissions must be tendered to the Court electronically no later than 1 clear working day before the hearing.
Administrative Adjournments Requests to appear by AVL or Telephone
While the current restrictions are in place, requests for administrative adjournments and to appear remotely can be made to appropriate registry on the day of or before the hearing.
Requests for attendance by AVL or telephone will be considered favourably by Magistrates but possibly not deemed suitable for guilty pleas.
Prosecution are expected to appear in person whenever possible, subject to the arrangements specified for major indictable matters.
When submitting a request to appear by telephone the practitioner must
- provide a direct landline or mobile telephone number,
- ensure that he/she is available to answer the telephone,
- understand that the telephone call may be made at any time during the relevant list,
- understand that if the telephone call is not answered, the matter will be dealt with in a manner that the relevant magistrate deems appropriate,
- understand that it is up to the practitioner to inform themselves of the outcome.
AVL is limited to 3 lines for connection.
Practitioners are discouraged from asking to use the AVL facilities of a court to appear by AVL in matters in another court.
Major Indictable Matters
A request to adjourn a major indictable matter without attendance of counsel is at the discretion of the magistrate, and will require confirmation of the consent of MIBU (police prosecution) or the DPP, and must include the reasons for the adjournment.
The DPP and MIBU will appear by AVL.
The court will allow pleas to be entered through counsel in the absence of the defendant, provided a copy of the relevant Information with the following endorsement signed by the defendant is delivered by email to the court and the DPP at least one clear business day before the hearing.
‘I, (name of defendant), plead guilty/not guilty to the within charges. Signature. Date’.
CONTACT DETAILS FOR MAGISTRATES COURTS
CourtSA website (Portal): https://courtsa.courts.sa.gov.au/
Magistrates Court Registry Contact Details:
Phone: (08) 8204 2444
Christies Beach email@example.com
Mount Gambier firstname.lastname@example.org
Murray Bridge email@example.com
Port Adelaide firstname.lastname@example.org
Port Augusta email@example.com
Port Lincoln firstname.lastname@example.org
Port Pirie email@example.com
Adelaide PO Box 6115, Halifax Street, Adelaide, SA, 5000
Berri PO Box 235, Berri, SA, 5343
Christies Beach PO Box 5, Lonsdale, SA, 5160
Elizabeth PO Box 160, Elizabeth, SA, 5112
Mount Gambier PO Box 723, Mount Gambier, SA, 5290
Murray Bridge PO Box 420, Murray Bridge, SA, 5253
Port Adelaide PO Box 3215, Port Adelaide, SA, 5015
Port Augusta PO Box 45, Port Augusta, SA, 5700
Port Lincoln PO Box 266, Port Lincoln, SA, 5606
Port Pirie PO Box 583, Port Pirie, SA, 5540
Whyalla PO Box 694, Whyalla, SA, 5600
JUDGE MARY-LOUISE HRIBAL