ASYNCHRONOUS HEARING OF PRE-TRIAL CASE CONFERENCES AND CRIMINAL CASE DISCLOSURE CONFERENCES
1. Pursuant to the introduction of section 238A of the Criminal Procedure Code 2010 and as part of our continuing efforts to streamline proceedings and reduce the attendance of parties, the Office of the Registrar will be implementing the asynchronous hearing of pre-trial case conferences (“PTCs”) and criminal case disclosure conferences (“CCDCs”) under Part 9 of the Criminal Procedure Code 2010, with effect from 22 May 2023.
2. This will involve the asynchronous receipt of parties’ applications and requests for directions, approval of applications, issuance of directions and fixing of matters on the Integrated Case Management System (“ICMS”), without requiring the attendance of parties.
3. The first PTC fixed for a case (or the first hearing of the first CCDC fixed for a case if no PTC is fixed prior to that) shall be a physical hearing or remote hearing via video conferencing (hereafter collectively referred to as a “non-asynchronous hearing”).
4. Subsequent PTCs and CCDCs shall be heard asynchronously (hereafter referred to as an “asynchronous hearing”), unless one or more of the following apply:
(a) where the accused person is unrepresented;
(b) where there are co-accused persons involved;
(c) where trial dates are being taken; or
(d) where the Court directs otherwise.
In respect of subparagraph (d), until further notice is given, asynchronous PTCs/CCDCs will not be fixed for cases heard by the Community Court and the Protection from Harassment Court. Likewise, cases involving charges prosecuted by regulatory agencies will also not be fixed for asynchronous PTCs/CCDCs, until further notice.
5. The following table outlines the steps which will need to be taken by parties:
|S/No.||Categories of cases||Steps to be taken by the parties|
|1)||Where the case’s first PTC (or the first hearing of its first CCDC, if no PTC is fixed prior to that) has been fixed for hearing on or after 22 May 2023||
The new asynchronous hearing protocol annexed hereto as “Annex A” applies.
|2)||All other ongoing cases at the PTC or CCDC stage||Parties will continue to appear before the Court physically or remotely via video conferencing on the date fixed for the PTC or CCDC.
Upon the Court fixing the subsequent PTC or CCDC for an asynchronous hearing, paragraph 5 onwards of Annex A shall apply.
6. For the avoidance of doubt, the Court shall always retain full discretion to issue directions for parties to attend a non-asynchronous hearing where it deems fit.
Dated this 19th day of May 2023.