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Sexual Offences (Procedure and Evidence) (Scotland) Act 2002

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Pre-trial High Court diet: inquiry about legal representation of accused in cases of sexual offencesS

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7After section 72 there is inserted—

72A Pre-trial diet: inquiry about legal representation of accused in cases of sexual offences

(1)Where a case to be tried in the High Court is in respect of a sexual offence to which section 288C of this Act applies, the court shall order that, before the trial diet, there shall be a diet under this section and ordain the accused then to attend.

(2)At a diet under this section, the court shall ascertain whether or not the accused has engaged a solicitor for the purposes of his defence at the trial.

(3)Where, following inquiries for the purposes of subsection (2) above, it appears to the court that the accused has not engaged a solicitor for the purposes of his defence at his trial, it may adjourn the diet under this section for a period of not more than 48 hours and ordain the accused then to attend.

(4)A diet under this section shall be not less than 15 clear days after the service of the indictment and not less than 10 clear days before the trial diet.

(5)A diet under this section may be conjoined with a preliminary diet.

(6)A court may, at a diet under this section, postpone the trial diet.

(7)The court may dispense with a diet under this section previously ordered, but only if a solicitor engaged by the accused for the purposes of the defence of the accused at the trial has, in writing—

(a)confirmed his engagement for that purpose; and

(b)requested that the diet be dispensed with.

(8)Where—

(a)a solicitor has requested, under subsection (7) above, that a diet under this section be dispensed with; and

(b)before that diet has been held or dispensed with, the solicitor—

(i)is dismissed by the accused; or

(ii)withdraws,

the solicitor shall forthwith inform the court in writing of those facts.

(9)It is the duty of a solicitor who—

(a)was engaged for the purposes of the defence of the accused at the trial—

(i)at the time of a diet under this section; or

(ii)in the case of a diet which, under subsection (7) above, is dispensed with, at the time when it was so dispensed with; and

(b)after that time but before the trial diet—

(i)is dismissed by the accused; or

(ii)withdraws,

forthwith to inform the court in writing of those facts.

(10)On being so informed, the court shall order a further diet under this section..

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