As readers are no doubt aware New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced a two week lockdown for Greater Sydney, Wollongong and the Blue Mountains. The new rules mean that residents of New South Wales cannot leave their home unless it is for essential reasons. From 26 June 2021, people residing in Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Wollongong are only allowed to leave their homes for five essential reasons. These reasons are shopping for food or other essential goods and services, medical care, compassionate needs and to exercise outdoors or for essential work and education.
For the most part, residents can expect to stay indoors for the majority of their day, at least until 9 July 2021 at 11:59 PM.
You’re probably wondering what happens to my Court date? Do I still need to attend?
In response to the announcement made by the New South Wales government, Chief Magistrate Graeme Henson has issued a memorandum for all legal practitioners appearing in the local court.
The Memorandum applies to the following Local Courts:
Albion Park, Bankstown, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Gosford, Hornsby, Katoomba, Liverpool, Manly, Mount Druitt, Newtown, Parramatta, Penrith, Picton, Port Kembla, Sutherland, Sydney, Central Sydney, Downing Centre, Waverley, Windsor, Wollongong and Wyong
If your Court case is to be heard in Greater Sydney, all defended hearings between Monday, 28 June 2021 and Friday night, July 2021 will no longer proceed. Participants involved in those proceedings are not required to attend Court. However, they will still be listed for mention meaning you or your legal practitioner is required to notify the court via email of the status of the proceedings prior to 3:00 PM on the day before the hearing. This will usually mean that your hearing date will be adjourned for further mention after 9 July 2021 which is the date the lockdown is scheduled to end.
If you have pled guilty to a criminal offence and your matter is listed for sentence During the lockdown, your legal practitioner is required to make contact with the Court and seek leave to appear either in writing or by AVL. Alternatively, your legal practitioner may ask to have the proceedings adjourned. Similarity. All contact with the court must be done prior to 3:00 PM on the day before your Matter is due to be heard.
This is the first or second time that your matter is in court. Your legal practitioner is allowed to give written notice of pleadings via. The Court’s preference during the pandemic for Mentions has always been to accept appearances in writing via email.
Mandatory Face Masks
Whether or not your legal practitioner has decided to appear In person, face masks have now become mandatory in all Courts unless an exception, such as a medical condition applies.
Take Home Advice
Regardless of the existence of any valid medical, political or social arguments, it is important that you follow the current Public Health Order and lockdown rules so that you are not committing an offence. Often times, a person, in their confrontation with police over the issuing of an infringement notice, may find themselves charged with additional offences.
Pursuant to section 10 of the Public Health Act 2010 (NSW) the penalty for failure to comply with a Public Health Order is punishable by a maximum penalty of $11,000.00 and/or imprisonment of 6 months. Whilst it is unlikely that offenders will receive these maximum imposed penalties, the extent of non-compliance will be a matter for the Courts to consider.
It is also important to note that corporations may also be found guilty of non-compliance and could be fined a maximum of $55,000.00 and/or $1,000.00 for each representative of the corporation found to be in non-compliance.
Although you may have been issued with an infringement notice for failing to comply with the current Public Health Order, National Criminal Lawyers® can be retained to appear on your behalf and fight any charges laid against you.
Whilst many of us are still recovering from the effects of the pandemic, it is vital that you retain specialist criminal defence lawyers to protect your interests and legal rights. If you or anyone you know has been charged with a criminal offence, contact our office immediately! At National Criminal Lawyers® our team of expert criminal defence lawyers will be able to help you understand the process and explore the possible defences.
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