What if the plea bargaining and negotiation process needs more time to take place?
- If the plea bargaining and negotiation process requires more time to take place, the Court may assign the case to be dealt with in an administrative hearing known as a Pre-Trial Conference (PTC).
- A PTC is a type of Court hearing which is conducted in a closed-door setting by a Judge and attended by your lawyer (if you are legally represented) and an officer representing the Prosecution (e.g. Deputy Public Prosecutor). You will need to attend to the PTC if you are not represented by a lawyer.
- At the PTC, the Judge will be updated on the progress and developments in the case, including the status of your plea bargaining and negotiation process with the Prosecution and whether any new decision has been reached by either party on how they wish to proceed in the case.
- If you or your lawyer require more time to prepare your case or to comply with the Court’s directions (e.g. if you need more time to prepare your written appeal), a request made be made at the PTC for the Court to adjourn the case to another later date.
- When the Prosecution has informed the Court of its final decision on the nature and course of the prosecutorial action that will be taken against you, you will need to inform the Court of your decision as to whether you ultimately wish to plead guilty or claim trial to the charge.
- If you decide to plead guilty, the Court will schedule a date on which your case will be heard in an open courtroom where you will be formally required to plead guilty to the charge and be sentenced. This type of hearing in an open courtroom setting is also referred as a Mention.
- If you decide to claim trial, the Court will schedule dates on which a trial will be conducted.