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Key decisions

  • Zahed v Director of Public Prosecutions (NSW) [2023] NSWSC 368
  • Barney v R [2023] NSWCCA 85

Zahed v Director of Public Prosecutions (NSW) [2023] NSWSC 368

Committals – applications to extend time for charge certification

This judgment of a single judge of the Supreme Court considers the factors that go into the question of whether, on application, the prosecution should be entitled to longer than the default six months for charge certification.

The plaintiff was charged with murder and aggravated kidnapping. Nothing in the judgment gives any clue as to the underlying facts; only procedural facts are recounted. Relevantly, the plaintiff was refused bail after charging, and had been waiting more than six months for the DPP to certify a charge.

Practitioners will recall that since mid-2018, the system for committal proceedings in NSW imposes a requirement on the DPP to ‘certify’ charges. The Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (‘the Act’) provides that if the charges are not certified within six months from the first time the matter is in court, the charges are to be dismissed unless the prosecutor satisfies the court that it is appropriate in the circumstances of the case to extend the time, taking into account the interests of justice (ss 67 and 68 of the Act).

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