New section 72C – procedure where preliminary hearing does not proceed
27.New section 72C makes provision in relation to the procedure where the preliminary hearing does not proceed. Subsection (1) provides that where the hearing has been deserted simpliciter (permanently) the prosecutor cannot raise a new indictment unless that decision has been reversed on appeal. Subsection (2) provides that where a hearing has been deserted on a temporary basis the court may appoint a further hearing and the accused is required to appear and answer the indictment at that hearing.
28.Subsections (3) and (4) provide for the situations where the diet has been deserted temporarily and no further diet has been appointed or the indictment is not proceeded with and the hearing has not been adjourned or postponed. In these situations the Crown has two months within which to give the accused notice to appear and answer the indictment at a further preliminary hearing in the High Court. There is scope for the Crown to reconsider the court to which the case has been indicted. It may within the same period serve notice instead to appear and answer the indictment in the sheriff court rather than the High Court where the charge is one which the sheriff court may lawfully try. Subsection (5) provides that, in that situation, the giving of notice is to be taken as service of an indictment in the sheriff court and the previous service of the indictment into the High Court is to be disregarded. Subsection (6) makes provision for the calculation of the two month period.