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The Magistrates' Courts (Northern Ireland) Order 1981

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Non-appearance of accused: issue of warrantN.I.

25.—(1) Without prejudice to the power of a court of summary jurisdiction under Article 138 to estreat a recognizance to appear, where the accused has failed to appear at a hearing or adjourned hearing the court may, if the complaint has been substantiated on oath and the court considers it undesirable by reason of the gravity of the offence to proceed in the absence of the accused, issue a warrant for his arrest.

(2) Where an accused has been convicted in his absence by a court of summary jurisdiction of an offence punishable with imprisonment and the court—

(a)cannot proceed in his absence by virtue of Article 23(3); or

(b)considers it undesirable by reason of the gravity of the offence to proceed in his absence;

the court may issue a warrant for his arrest.

(3) Where the accused has failed to appear in answer to a summons, the court shall not issue a warrant for his arrest unless it is proved that the summons was duly served upon him or that he is evading service.

(4) Where the accused has failed to appear at an adjourned hearing the court shall not issue a warrant unless it is satisfied that reasonable steps have been taken to bring to the attention of the accused notice of the time and place of the adjourned hearing.

(5) Paragraph (1) shall not apply to an adjournment by reason of the requirements of Article 24(2)(b) and that paragraph and paragraph (2) shall not apply to an adjournment on the occasion of the accused's conviction in his absence under Article 24(2) except where the accused fails to appear at the time and place appointed for the adjourned hearing.

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