Welcome to the Criminal Procedure Act 2009

The Criminal Procedure Act 2009 has been in operation for a few years now. While there continues to be interpretation and amendment of its provisions, the transition from the old legislation to the new has successfully been made, and a blog exclusively dedicated to the Act is no longer necessary.

If you're looking for a frequently updated blog on general legal matters in Victoria, have a look at Quis Custodes Ipsos Custodes? by the same authors.


357. When accused is not legally represented

357. When accused is not legally represented

(1) If the accused is not legally represented, the court must—

(a) inform the accused and the jury (if any) that the accused is not permitted personally to cross-examine a protected witness; and

(b) ask the accused whether the accused has sought legal representation for the cross-examination of a protected witness; and

(c) if satisfied that the accused has not had a reasonable opportunity to obtain legal representation, grant an adjournment if so requested by the accused.

(2) If the accused does not obtain legal representation for the cross-examination of a protected witness (after being given a reasonable opportunity to do so), the court must order Victoria Legal Aid to provide legal representation for the accused for that purpose.

(3) Despite anything in the Legal Aid Act 1978, Victoria Legal Aid must provide legal representation in accordance with an order under subsection (2).

(4) A legal practitioner provided by Victoria Legal Aid must act in the best interests of the accused if the accused does not give any instructions to that legal practitioner.

(5) If the accused refuses the legal representation provided under subsection (3), or otherwise refuses to co-operate, the court must warn the accused that the accused will not be permitted to adduce evidence in relation to a fact in issue in order to contradict the evidence of a protected witness unless the evidence on which the accused intends to rely has been put to the protected witness during cross-examination.

This provision (acting together with ss 355 and 356) effectively prohibit an accused from cross-examining a protected person, and place the accused at an extreme tactical disadvantage if they fail to retain counsel.


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