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Counsel to cross-examine witnesses at committal

Assessment criteria

For legal aid to be granted for counsel to cross-examine witnesses at committal the following tests must be satisfied:

  • the applicant has been provided aid for the substantive matter, and
    the request meets the merits test, and
  • there has been agreement with the prosecution to cross-examine witness or leave to cross-examine witnesses has been granted by the court, and
  • the matter is of public interest or sufficient complexity to warrant representation by counsel and Legal Aid Queensland considers one or more of the following factors are present:
    • The gravity of the charge(s) requires counsel
    • The proper conduct of the case requires substantial cross-examination of numerous witnesses
    • Excessive resources have been utilised by the crown in the prosecution of the matter
    • There are numerous co-accused represented by different solicitors
    • There are children or special witnesses to be cross-examined
    • The admissibility of evidence is contested or matters of law will require significant and detailed legal argument
    • Expert evidence is relied upon to support the prosecution or defence case and significant examination or cross-examination of witnesses will be required.

Requirements

Extension of aid requests received from preferred suppliers or in-house practitioners

If a practitioner requires aid for counsel to cross-examine witnesses at committal the practitioner must lodge an extension of aid request through the Grants Online system and advise how the matter meets the merits test and details of how the matter is of sufficient public interest or complexity which warrants counsel.

Interpretation

The gravity of the charge(s) requires counsel

With the exception of a charge of murder the gravity of charges alone would generally not be considered as sufficient to warrant the funding of counsel.

The proper conduct of the case requires substantial cross-examination of numerous witnesses

The fact that there are numerous witnesses in a matter is not sufficient to warrant funding in accordance with this guideline. The nature of the witnesses and the extent of cross-examination will be the basis upon which determination as to whether funding of counsel is approved.

Excessive resources have been utilised by the crown in the prosecution of the matter

Voluminous material in isolation is insufficient to warrant funding in accordance with this guideline. When seeking aid for counsel on the basis of this guideline, the practitioner must provide detailed information in relation to the nature of the material and details of the excessive resources used by the crown to the assessing officer.

There are numerous co-accused represented by different solicitors

For the purpose of this guideline Legal Aid Queensland regard numerous co-accused as three or more.

There are children or special witnesses to be cross-examined

If children or special witnesses are to be cross-examined aid for counsel will be approved.

The admissibility of evidence is contested or matters of law will require significant and detailed legal argument

When seeking aid for counsel at this stage of proceedings, the practitioner must provide detailed information in this regard to the assessing officer. If it is determined that significant and detailed legal argument is required, aid for counsel will be provided.

Expert evidence is relied upon to support the prosecution or defence case and significant examination or cross-examination of witnesses will be required

Aid for counsel is likely to be approved when an expert witness whose evidence is to be relied upon is to be cross-examined and it would not be reasonable for the solicitor to cross-examine the expert witness.

Grant(s) of aid

The grant of aid for solicitor and counsel to cross-examine witnesses at day one of committal hearing MR5.

The grant of aid for counsel only to cross-examine witnesses at day one of committal hearing MR8

Extension(s) of aid

The grant of aid for solicitor and counsel to cross-examine witnesses at additional days of committal hearing MR7

The grant of aid for counsel only to cross-examine witnesses at additional days of committal hearing MR9.

Review of decisions

A decision to refuse legal aid for this type of matter may be appealed to the external review officer (refer to review of decisions).

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