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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 114792 Find in a Library
Title: Criminal Law and Justice
Journal: Australian Law Journal  Volume:62  Issue:2  Dated:(February 1988)  Pages:160-163
Author(s): P Byrne
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 4
Type: Legislation/Policy Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: In May, 1987, Judge Moor of the District Court of New South Wales in Australia held that the history of delay in R vs. McConnell constituted an infringement of the constitutional right of the defendant to a prompt trial.
Abstract: The time from charge to trial in this case was 3 years and 4 months, and the proceedings were permanently stayed on the grounds that this period of delay constituted an abuse of process. Since that decision, the courts have been flooded with similar cases. These cases have set forth 11 principles on the right to a speedy trial. The courts have an inherent discretionary power to order criminal cases stayed unconditionally. Where there is unjustified or unreasonable delay, there is a presumption in favor of the accused that the delay was prejudicial. The determination of the reasonableness of delay is based on the length of and explanation for the delay, the extent of the accused's assertion of the right to a speedy trial, and the actual prejudice to the accused. The Supreme Court can order proceedings permanently stayed. The extent and nature of the delay must be weighed in terms of the jurisdiction's realities. The totality of unwaived delays must be considered, as must the complexity of the case. Lack of investigatory or prosecutorial resources is not of itself justification for delay. While progress is being made in reducing court delays, real progress will require the establishment of acceptable standards and the provision of resources to ensure that standards are achieved.
Main Term(s): Right to speedy trial
Index Term(s): Australia; Court delays; Judicial decisions
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