Various criminal procedure amendments introduced by the Justice Legislation Miscellaneous Amendment Act 2018 are now in effect, including:
Protection of certain witnesses from cross examination in committal hearings.
A committal hearing is not to be held in committal proceedings to which s 123 Criminal Procedure Act 2009 applies, namely cases involving a witness who:
(a) is a complainant in a proceeding that relates (wholly or partly) to a charge for a sexual offence; and
(b) was a child or a person with a cognitive impairment when the criminal proceeding was commenced; and
(c) made a statement a copy of which was served in the hand-up brief or whose evidence-in-chief or examination at a compulsory examination hearing was recorded and a transcript of the recording was served in the hand-up brief.
Such witnesses cannot be required for cross examination.
The By Lawyers Victorian Magistrates Court – Criminal guide has been updated accordingly.
Increased penalties for offences of violence against certain workers
Offences of violence alleged to have been committed against an emergency worker on duty, a custodial officer on duty or a youth justice custodial worker on duty, within the meaning of section 10AA of the Sentencing Act 1991, are now excluded from the list in Schedule 2 of the Criminal Procedure Act of indictable offences which can be tried summarily and custodial sentences for such offences are mandatory.