Criminal Case Management System: The Value Of Defence CounselJun 09, 2023
Criminal Case Management System
While the matter is in the mentions or PTC stage, parties may attend a Criminal Case Management System meeting. The Criminal Case Management System (CCMS) is a system implemented by the AGC to allow for a meeting between the DPPs and the Defence Counsel, also known as criminal lawyers. It is important to note that the CCMS meeting can only be attended by the Defence Counsel; the Accused cannot attend the CCMS meeting by himself. There will be no judges sitting in for the meeting as well.
At the CCMS meeting, the DPP and the Defence Counsel will discuss the issues in dispute and the respective strengths and weaknesses of each party’s case. Evidence may be shared in this meeting, whereby the Defence Counsel will be made aware of any evidence that may be beneficial or damaging to the Accused’s case. He may also raise mitigating factors in the Accused’s favour for the DPP’s consideration. The Defence Counsel may also take this opportunity to negotiate the best position for the Accused – such a position may look like reducing the charge to a less severe one, or even withdrawing the charges entirely.
At this juncture, the DPP may also make a plea bargain, where some charges are “taken into consideration” if the Accused were to admit to other charges: see more under “Pleading Guilty”.
The CCMS meetings are all conducted on a Without Prejudice basis. This means that whatever is discussed is protected by legal privilege and cannot be disclosed to the Court.
After the CCMS meeting, the Defence Counsel will be in a better position to advise the Accused as to the best course of action, taking into account all available evidence.
In sum, the CCMS meeting is a good opportunity for the lawyers of both sides to come together and discuss the matter frankly.
As mentioned above, only Defence Counsels are allowed to attend the CCMS meetings with the DPPs. As such, if the Accused is represented, he can take advantage of the CCMS to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of his case before taking a particular course of action. He will be able to set out the Accused’s position candidly to the DPPs as well.