One of the most common ways an accused person is summoned to appear in Court is to be issued a Notice to Appear by a Police Officer. In a wide range of offences, police require the accused to attend the Arrest Court in Roma Street (Brisbane)or in a Regional Magistrates Court by issuing a ‘Notice to Appear’.
What it looks like:
This document 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.
What is it:
This 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 means that you are required to appear in Court; there is no Notice of Intention to Appear in Court form which you indicate that you intend to appear, you simply arrive punctually on the date indicated.
What do I do if I have received a Notice to Appear form?
Once issued with that document, you must appear before the Court mentioned in the Notice.
First Court Appearance:
At the first Court appearance, you will not have seen or been issued with a formal Complaint issued by police. Also, you will not have access to any of the documented evidence compiled by the arresting Police officer. Because of these circumstances, you can legally request an adjournment from the Court for a period of time to allow you to obtain legal advice.
If you have been issued with a Notice to Appear and are required to present before a Court, seeking legal advice from an experienced solicitor about conducting this first appearance is strongly advisable.
On the Day:
You should take your Notice to Appear with you to the Court and be early enough to present yourself to the Prosecutor in the Court in which you are to appear. You should also ask the Court Officer (particularly if appearing in Brisbane) for your file number so 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 and it is important to be prepared.
Upon presentation to the Prosecutor, they will pull your file from the pile and place it on the bar table in an order which represents 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. Having your solicitor with you at the appearance will help to commence and conclude the proceedings much more quickly.
Addressing the Court:
In the event that you are required to appear on your own, 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.
Request for Bail/Adjournment:
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.
If you have had prior difficulty with bail or appearances in other matters, the Prosecution may oppose your bail. In these circumstances, you will require assistance at that first appearance to obtain any available bail in respect of the charges mentioned in your Notice to Appear.
What to do:
If you have been issued a Notice to Appear and require assistance, contact Bennett Carroll Solicitors.