If you plead not guilty to an offence, the magistrate may in some cases order the police to serve (give) a brief of evidence on you.
A 'brief of evidence' is a group of documents, including statements and photographs that the police may use as evidence at the hearing. In most cases, it will contain:
Reading and understanding a brief of evidence can be complicated. If you don't understand it, you should get
It is possible to change your plea after reading the brief of evidence. For more information, see
Changing your plea.
The police do not have to provide you with a brief of evidence for some charges. These include:
After you have entered your not guilty plea, the magistrate will set a date for the prosecution to serve the brief of evidence on you. This is usually about four weeks later. The police will usually serve the brief of evidence on you personally but it can also be served by post, email or fax. The police may also request that you go to the police station and collect it from them.
If you are still waiting for some or the entire brief of evidence 14 days before the hearing, you should get
You should check that all the documents in the contents list are included in the brief of evidence. If a document is missing, you should contact the police officer in charge of the investigation and ask them to send it to you. You can contact the police by phone, by email, facsimile or by post. Whichever method you choose, you should always keep a copy of the letter or email or write down the name of the officer and time you spoke to them.
If you have requested documents and the police have not served them on you by the reply date, you can tell the magistrate the next time you are in court. The magistrate may make orders that the documents be served on you. If the next time you are in court is the hearing date, you should get
If you have not received all the documents that are supposed to be in the brief of evidence and it is getting close to the hearing date, you should get
legal advice. You may need to consider asking for the hearing date to be vacated.
If you need a document that is not part of the police brief, you should consider asking the court for a Subpoena to Produce documents.
For more information, see