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Commencement Orders bringing legislation that affects this Act into force:
(1)A magistrates’ court committing a person for trial shall specify the place at which he is to be tried, and in selecting that place shall have regard to—
(a)the convenience of the defence, the prosecution and the witnesses;
(b)the expediting of the trial; and
(c)any directions given by the [F1Lord Chief Justice] under section 47(2).
(2)Without prejudice to the preceding provisions of this Act about the distribution of Crown Court business, the Crown Court may give directions or further directions altering the place of any trial on indictment, either by varying the decision of a magistrates’ court under subsection (1) or [F2by substituting some other place for the place specified in a notice under Article 3 of the Criminal Justice (Serious Fraud) (Northern Ireland) Order 1988 [F3or under Aricle 4 of the Children’s Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1995](notices of transfer from magistrates’ court to Crown Court) or by varying] a previous direction of the Crown Court.
(3)The defendant or the prosecutor, if dissatisfied with the place of trial as fixed by the magistrates’ court [F4, as specified in a notice under Article 3 of the Criminal Justice (Serious Fraud) (Northern Ireland) Order 1988 [F5or under Article 4 of the Children’s Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1995] or as fixed] by the Crown Court, may apply to the Crown Court for a direction or further direction varying the place of trial; and the court shall take the matter into consideration and may grant or refuse the application, or give such other direction as the court thinks fit.
(4)F6. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(5)The trial of a person committed by a magistrates’ court—
(a)shall not begin until the expiration of the specified period beginning with the date of his committal [F7or of the giving of a notice of transfer under Article 3 of the Criminal Justice (Serious Fraud) (Northern Ireland) Order 1988 [F8or under Article 4 of the Children’s Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1995]], except with his consent and the consent of the prosecutor; and
(b)shall, unless the Crown Court has otherwise ordered, begin not later than the expiration of the specified period beginning with the date of his committal [F7or of the giving of a notice of transfer under Article 3 of the Criminal Justice (Serious Fraud) (Northern Ireland) Order 1988][F9or under Article 4 of the Children’s Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1995] (that is to say a period longer than the period specified for the purposes of paragraph (a) above for the proceedings in question).
For the purposes of this subsection—
(i)“the specified period” means such period for the respective purposes of paragraphs (a) and (b) as may be specified by Crown Court rules and the rules may make different provision for different places of trial or for other different circumstances;
(ii)the trial shall be deemed to begin when the defendant is arraigned.
(6)Directions under subsection (2) may be given on behalf of the Crown Court by an officer of the Crown Court, but the power to make orders conferred on the Crown Court by subsection (5)(b) shall be exercisable only by a judge of the court.
[F10(6A)Where a preparatory hearing has been ordered under Article 6 of the Criminal Justice (Serious Fraud) (Northern Ireland) Order 1988, directions altering the place of trial may be given under subsection (2) at any time before [F11the time when the jury are sworn].]
[F12(6B)The reference in subsection (6A) to the time when the jury are sworn includes the time when the jury would be sworn but for—
(a)the making of an order under Part 7 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, or
(b)the application of [F13section 5 of the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007] .]
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