Section 26: Pre-trial time limits
165.Section 65(1) of the 1995 Act provides that an accused shall not be tried on indictment for any offence unless, where an indictment has been served on the accused in High Court cases, a preliminary hearing is commenced within the period of 11 months. It also provides that, in any solemn case, the trial must be commenced within the period of 12 months of the first appearance of the accused on petition in respect of the offence. Section 65(3) details the circumstances in which the court may extend these time limits. Section 65(3)(a) provides that, in High Court cases where the indictment has been served on the accused, a single judge of that court can, on cause shown, extend both the 11 and 12 month periods. In terms of section 65(3)(b), in any other case, the sheriff may, on cause shown, extend only the period of 12 months. This section amends section 65(3)(b) and provides that the sheriff may extend either or both of the periods of 11 and 12 months in High Court cases where the indictment has not been served.