What is a QP9?
When someone is charged with criminal offences in Queensland, they will be given a QP9. This is a document prepared by the police that contains a charge sheet, which sets out the offences they are charged with, and a summary of the alleged facts. If the accused has a prior record for criminal or traffic offences, this will usually be attached to the QP9. The QP9 may also contain a summary of the prosecution evidence that is available should the matter proceed to a contested hearing. A QP9 is usually provided to the defence at the first court mention.
What Should I Do With The QP9?
Once you have received the QP9 from the police, you should review the charges and alleged facts thoroughly. If it is a simple matter and you accept the allegations, you may be able to finalise the matter at the first mention. However, it is generally necessary to get an adjournment to review the allegations and evidence and decide how to proceed.
If you have a solicitor, they will go through the allegations with you and find out your side of the story. If your version is very different from the police version, your lawyer may advise you to plead not guilty. If you want to plead guilty but you disagree with some aspects of the alleged facts, your lawyer will try to negotiate with the prosecution for the summary of facts to be amended so that you can finalise the matter as a plea. The police will often agree to do this in order to avoid the need to proceed to a contested hearing.
If you are representing yourself, you should review the alleged facts carefully and see whether you agree with them. You should review each of the charges and have a look at the relevant legislation, which will tell you the elements of the offence and the maximum penalty that applies as well as any mandatory sentencing laws that exist. If you are satisfied that the alleged facts are accurate and that all the elements of each offence are made out, you may proceed to plead guilty. However, if the charges are serious, you should seek legal advice.
What If The QP9 Is Wrong?
Sometimes a person wants to finalise a matter by pleading guilty to the charge but the QP9 contains statements that they feel are untrue. If the police are not willing to change the summary of alleged facts, a person in this situation may choose to set the matter down for a disputed facts hearing. This is a contested hearing where the accused is not denying responsibility for the offence but is disputing the way the police allege that the offence occurred.
It is important that you only plead guilty if you agree with the alleged facts contained in a QP9. The court will decide on the sentence you receive based on these facts. They are also a formal record of what a person has pleaded guilty to.
QP9 or Brief Of Evidence?
While a QP9 is provided to an accused at the first court mention for a matter, a brief of evidence is provided later, if the accused has indicated that they are considering contesting the matter.
A brief of evidence contains all of the available evidence that the prosecution plans to rely on to prove the offence. It may include police interviews, CCTV footage, witness statements, medical reports and DNA evidence. A QP9, by contrast, is limited to the charge sheet, the statement of alleged facts and the accused’s prior criminal and traffic record.
A brief of evidence is provided so that the accused can begin preparing their defence and assessing the strength of the prosecution case. If it appears the prosecution case is strong, the accused may decide to change their plea take advantage of the sentencing discount for pleading guilty.
QP9s Remain On Police Records
QP9s remain on the Queensland Police’s records. If a person is later charged with more offences, the QP9 may be used as a record of their prior offending. It may also be disclosed to third parties in response to a police check. For these reasons, it is important that QP9s are accurate reflections of what happened.
Can I Get A Copy Of A QP9?
The victim of the crime or their legal representative can obtain a copy of the QP9 from the Queensland Police. This may occur where the QP9 is needed in order to apply for criminal injuries compensation. However, the QP9 will be provided only once the criminal matter has been finalised and the appeal period has passed.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.