As a legal practitioner I feel it is necessary that your readers understand the basics of the court process to provide a context for Mr. Thomson's criticisms of the way he has been dealt with by the police to date. Today, out the front of the Melbourne Magistrates' Court Mr. Thomson was reported as saying,
'It wasn’t encouraging that the police still aren’t even ready at this time but we'll get on with it as quickly as we can to clear my name." Further, Mr. Thomson was reported as saying it was a “priority to try and get this issue on and over with as quickly as possible to clear my name," he said." -see http://www.news.com.au/national/craig-thomson-in-melbourne-court-as-formal-charges-of-154-counts-of-fraud-are-laid/story-fndo4cq1-1226571337074
There are a number of points that need to be made about what Mr. Thomson said so your readers and the wider public know of the deliberate false impressions that Mr. Thomson has created. Also, perhaps I can provide some insightful comments about the law and future conduct of the proceeding that will ensure Mr. Thomson can "get the issue on and over with..."
Firstly, there is no expectation by either the police or the accused that a witness list will be handed over to the accused by the police at a Filing Hearing. Mr. Thomson's crticism of the police on this point is a complete and utterly disgraceful comment. It is ill-informed and misleading. It should be denounced, hence my emailing you.
Pursuant to s108(1) of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009 (Vic) a hand up brief must be served at least 42 days before the Committal Mention unless the Accused gives written consent to a lesser period. Section 110 of the Criminal Procedure Act sets out what must be included in the hand up brief including but not limited to the charge sheets, witness statements, exhibits such as recording or photographs to be relied upon by the police and the like- see http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/cpa2009188/s110.html
Following the service of the hand up brief, pursuant to s118(1) of the Criminal Procedure Act, if a hand-up brief is served under section 107, the accused and the DPP or, if the DPP is not conducting the committal proceeding, the informant must jointly file with the registrar a case direction notice at least 7 days before the committal mention hearing.
A Case Direction Notice is to be found at http://www.magistratescourt.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/Default/Case-Direction-Notice-Form-32.pdf It is in this form that the accused (having read the hand up brief) lists those witnesses they will apply for leave to cross examine (see para. 4 in the Form 32). The hand up brief will have a list of witnesses the prosecution intend to call and a summary of the evidence they will give. The hand up brief will also contain the witness statements sworn by the witnesses. Until the hand up brief has been served it is disengenuous for Mr. Thomson to be critical of the police regarding the witnesses. The Filing Hearing is the first court date for the matter, no practitioner or accused would have expected the hand up brief there and then. It is precisely why the court has Filing Hearings and Mention hearings- to provide a framework for steps to be taken in a matter. It is for this reason Mr. Thomson's criticism of the police is disgraceful and misleading.