Amendment of section 66
9.Subsection (1) amends section 66(6) of the 1995 Act which deals with citation of parties to court diets. At present the notice accompanying the indictment cites the accused to appear at the trial diet. Subsection (1)(b) provides that in the High Court the accused will now be cited to appear at a preliminary hearing. Subsection (1)(a) ensures the existing time limits continue to apply in sheriff court cases.
10.Subsection (2) repeals the provision that requires, in High Court cases, an accused charged with committing a sexual offence to be called upon to attend at a pre-trial diet in the High Court for the purpose of ascertaining whether he has legal representation. This is because there is no longer any need for a separate pre-trial diet solely to deal with that matter. It will now be dealt with at the mandatory preliminary hearing for all cases.
11.Subsection (3) introduces new sections dealing with preliminary hearings. New sections 72 to 72D are in substitution for the present sections 72 to 73A of the 1995 Act. These sections set out the purpose of the hearings and the procedure to be followed.