Hiccup for Rocky’s first judge only trial

ROCKHAMPTON is set for it’s first ‘judge only’ trial during the coronavirus pandemic due to social isolation rules.

But there is a hiccup in that the lawyers need to make an application to a judge that isn’t going to be the judge that presides over the trial.

This issue was flagged during the Rockhampton District Court call-over on March 7 where barrister Ross Lo Monaco indicated his client Alastaire Bevan Pope wanted a judge only trial in relation to charges for a burglary and armed robbery where he claims he was in the car outside the house when the armed robbery took place inside the house.

The court heard co-accused Glynn Rowan Oates and another yet to be indicted were likely to plead guilty to the charges, while a fourth person who was upstairs in the house at the time may also require a trial.

Judge Michael Burnett said he may have to send the ­application for a judge only trial to Brisbane due to a clause in legislation where the judge hearing the application cannot be the trial judge.

There was another issue raised by Mr Oates’ barrister Scott Moon about not being able to get his client to sign a document which required a signature before sentence.

The three matters have been adjourned until April 20.

Sentences are being done via video link for those remanded in custody.

However, those on bail and facing time in prison – including a case in Rockhampton where a man is facing 26 child sex charges including one of producing child porn – are being adjourned for two months under practice directions set down by the Chief Justice and Chief Judge on March 18.

The Chief Magistrate made a similar order April 7: “Until further notice, all criminal matters where a defendant is on a Notice to Appear or bail will be adjourned to a date not less than two months from the first appearance.”

A District Court juvenile matter will also result in a judge only trial with the defendant currently remanded in detention.

The juvenile has about 50 charges but is contesting an assault police charge.

The trial has been set for April 28 and should take about one day.

The delivery of judgment will follow and the sentencing for the guilty matters will take place on April 30.

Witnesses will give ­evidence via video link.

Current court proceedings explained in dot point:

People taken into custody will have an opportunity to make a bail application in the Magistrates Court through either a duty lawyer or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lawyer

Urgent domestic violence applications and urgent child protection orders will still be heard

Bail applications to vary bail conditions.

Any sentence where a defendant is currently being held in prison, or will be given a suspended sentence or immediate parole, are still being heard.

Where a defendant is in custody- committal and summary mentions are still happening

Urgent regional Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) matters

Judge only trials

Mentions are being done by legal practitioners and defendants via phone

Some magistrates matters such as drug driving are being heard via telephone – email or phone the court before 9am to arrange: Courthouse.Rockhampton@justice.qld.gov.au or 07 48871700

For more information about how to appear by phone go to www.courts.qld.gov.au/courts/magistrates-court/covid-19-response-magistrates-court

For contact details of other Central Queensland courts, click here and scroll to the bottom: CORONAVIRUS: What to do about court matters during pandemic