Under the Criminal Procedure Act‚ when a magistrate’s sentence exceeds certain thresholds — which vary according to the magistrate’s seniority — it automatically has to be reviewed by a high court judge unless the offender had legal representation or has appealed. Under the Child Justice Act‚ all cases of child imprisonment have to be reviewed.
The records of each case have to be sent to the high court registrar within seven days of sentencing. Last week’s high court judgment says the reviewing judge acts as a court of appeal‚ and can alter a sentence‚ quash a conviction or scrap the whole case.
“The great majority of accused who come before the magistrates’ courts are legally unrepresented‚ and criminal proceedings in these courts are not considered to be properly concluded until the reviewing judge has certified that they were in accordance with justice‚” said Acting Judge Mark Sher and Judge Robert Henney.
Source: TMG Digital.