New section 102A
175.Section 32 inserts a new section 102A into the 1995 Act which provides for an offence where an accused fails to appear, introduces a statutory procedure for the granting of warrants to apprehend in solemn proceedings and details the procedure to be followed if the accused is apprehended.
176.Subsection (1) makes it an offence for an accused to fail to appear at a diet on indictment of which the accused has been given due notice. If convicted of this offence on indictment, the accused will be liable to a fine, or imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or to both.
177.Subsection (2) provides that the court may, where the accused fails to appear at any diet on indictment of which he has had due notice (apart from a diet which the accused is not required to attend), grant a warrant to apprehend the accused.
178.Subsection (3) provides that it is not competent in any proceedings on indictment for the court to grant a warrant for the apprehension of the accused where the accused fails to appear at a diet otherwise than in accordance with subsection (2). Currently (other than the provisions of section 71(4) of the 1995 Act) there is no statutory authority for the granting of a warrant to apprehend on indictment. The warrant is issued at common law. The provision in section 71(4) of the 1995 Act is repealed by paragraph 12(2) of the schedule to this Act.
179.Subsection (4) provides that it remains competent for a court to grant a warrant on a petition under section 34 of the 1995 Act in respect of an offence of failing to appear at a diet under subsection (1) of this section, or an offence under section 27(1)(a) of the 1995 Act, where the offence relates to the same failure to appear (whether or not a warrant was granted under section 102A(2)).
180.Subsections (5) & (6) make clear that the effect of the court granting a warrant to apprehend an accused under subsection (2) is that the indictment falls as respects that accused unless the court makes an order to a different effect.
181.Subsection (7) sets out the circumstances in which the court can make an order under subsection (6). The court may do so on the motion of the prosecutor for the purpose of proceeding with a trial in the absence of the accused. Where it is for any other purpose, the court may make such an order on the motion of the prosecutor, or of its own accord.
182.Subsection (8) makes provision for the form of a warrant granted under subsection (2) to be prescribed by Act of Adjournal.
183.Subsection (9) sets out the authority conferred by a warrant granted under section 102A.
184.Subsection (10) provides that where an accused is apprehended under a warrant granted under this section the accused must, wherever practicable, be brought before a relevant court not later than in the course of the first day on which that court is sitting after the accused is taken into custody.
185.Subsection (11) provides that where the accused is brought before a court in pursuance of a warrant granted under section 102A, the court is required to make an order either detaining the accused in custody until liberated in due course of law or releasing the accused on bail.
186.Subsection (12) provides that the court must have regard to the terms of the indictment in respect of which the warrant was granted, even where the indictment has fallen in terms of subsection (5), when making an order in accordance with subsection (11).
187.Subsection (13) provides that any period of time previously spent in custody as regards the case (prior to an order being made under subsection (11)) does not count towards any applicable custody time limit set out in section 65(4) of the 1995 Act.
188.Subsection (14) clarifies the meaning of the references in subsection (13) to the accused’s detention in custody.
189.Subsection (15) provides that it is competent for an indictment to be amended to include an additional charge of an offence under subsection (1) (failing to appear at a diet of proceedings on indictment of which the accused has been given due notice).
190.Subsection (16) defines references to “the court” where they appear in section 102A.