Delay in the Administration of Criminal Justice

Commonwealth Developments and Experience

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Dispensin g with the Presence of the Defendant at a Court Hearing

For the more serious criminal offences, the presence of the defendant in court, with or without counsel, is seen as being a necessary prerequisite for the proper administration of justice. “Justice” cannot be done in his absence; he must be given the opportunity to participate in the proceedings. By contrast, with very minor offences, where the penalties are concomitantly small, the presence of the accused at the hearing is not seen as being so essential.


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