Practice Notes 5 and 6 have introduced a new focus on sexual assault cases in the District Court and, in particular, the need for these cases to be heard as quickly as possible and with appropriate consideration being given to the needs of both the complainant and the accused. A key strategy in implementing the court’s policies is to ensure that the judges hearing sexual assault cases are provided with all the material they need to ensure the trial proceeds and is finalised without unnecessary interruptions.

This Sexual Assault Trials Handbook has been compiled by judges who are experienced in conducting these trials and it will be of immense value to trial judges conducting these cases. The Handbook will be of particular significance for judges on circuit because 53 per cent of all sexual assault cases are in the country lists. This Handbook will provide judges with immediate access to all the material they need to conduct these trials. That will result in the trials proceeding more quickly and the judges having access to all the relevant legislation and decisions of the Court of Criminal Appeal in one convenient volume.

I express the gratitude of the court to those judges who have compiled the Handbook.

The Honourable Justice R O Blanch, AM
Chief Judge
September 2007