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Enhancing criminal justice

South Australian Criminal Trials Bench Book We are pleased to announce South Australia’s Criminal Trials Bench Book has been released, the result of a partnership between the College and the Supreme Court of South Australia.

The Bench Book brings to South Australian judges and practitioners the same clear, accessible and thoroughly researched jury directions that Victorians have enjoyed in the Criminal Charge Book for almost 15 years.

The Bench Book currently covers preliminary directions, directions in running, evidentiary directions and the first two chapters of offences. We are continuing to work with the Supreme Court to finalise the remaining chapters on offences, defences and extensions to criminal responsibility.

We would like to thank the judges and practitioners involved in reviewing the bench book, and echo the sentiments of Chair of the Bench Book Editorial Committee, the Honourable Justice Sam Doyle:

'While it is thus expected that the suggested directions will be adapted both as to their content and style, it is nevertheless hoped that the Bench Book will assist judges in their preparation of directions, and reduce the risk of error in the directions that are given. In this way, it is hoped that the Bench Book will, over time, make a valuable contribution to the efficient administration of justice in this State'.

This has certainly been the Victorian experience, and we hope the same will be said of the South Australian Bench Book in the years ahead.

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