Judge alone trials could soon be more common place in WA courts if a bill set to be introduced into state parliament by the state’s youngest MP gets the green light.
WA Liberal Democrats MP Aaron Stonehouse has drafted a private members bill which is proposing amendments to the Criminal Procedure Act 2004.
The proposed amendments outlined in Mr Stonehouse’s bill would mean courts must, upon a request from an accused person, make an order for a criminal trial to be judge alone, unless the court was satisfied it was not in the interests of justice.
Currently, the courts can make an order for a judge alone trial but only when it is considered to be in the interests of justice.
Mr Stonehouse said the proposed amendments would “shift the burden” from the defendant to the prosecution, to prove a judge alone trial was not in the interests of justice.
“Switching that burden makes sense to me,” Mr Stonehouse told WAtoday.
“It will allow the defendant to make the case for a judge alone trial…without the prosecution having the ability to take that right away from them.