Dr Kennedy Graham, in Committee, to move the following amendment to the proposed amendments:
To omit this subclause and substitute the following subclause:
(3) Despite subsection (2), the court must not proceed with a hearing in the absence of the defendant unless the court is satisfied that the defendant will not be prejudiced by his or her absence, and the defendant consents.
This SOP tightens up clause 128 relating to trials in absentia. Currently the legislation reads that a defendant could have a reasonable excuse for not being present, yet the hearing could continue because the judge believes the defendant will not be prejudiced through absence. This change ensures that the defendant consents to a trial taking place while the defendant is in absentia.