New Section 148C
141.Subsection (1) as inserted provides that where a solicitor is engaged to act for an accused for the purpose of his defence at a trial the solicitor is required to intimate this fact in writing to the procurator fiscal and the court. The duty applies at a later stage than in solemn proceedings. In terms of section 72F, the duty in solemn proceedings applies wherever a solicitor is engaged for the purpose of the defence of the accused at any part of the proceedings. The provision made for summary proceedings reflects the fact that, at a first calling, the accused may not yet have contacted the solicitor of his choice for the trial, particularly where the accused is represented by the duty solicitor under the Legal Aid Scheme.
142.Subsection (2) provides that the solicitor is deemed to have complied with subsection (1) in circumstances where s/he has (1) appeared at the first calling of the case and tendered a plea on behalf of the accused or intimated in writing a plea on behalf of the accused and (2) at the same time has notified the court and the prosecutor that s/he is also engaged by the accused for the purposes of the accused’s defence at trial. The notification under subsection (2) can be given orally or in writing, whereas notification under subsection (1) must be in writing.
143.The effect of subsection (3) is that any solicitor who has intimated that s/he is acting for the accused must intimate if s/he is no longer acting for the accused for any reason.