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What is a Criminal Mentions Court

As an accused person in a criminal case, you will have to first attend the Criminal Mentions Court. The Criminal Mentions Courts include both the day Mentions Courts and the night Mentions Courts (also known as Night Courts).

At the Criminal Mentions Court, you will be:

  • Formally charged for the offences you have allegedly committed.
  • Given the opportunity to plead guilty or claim trial.

When you have to attend court

You will be called to a Mentions Court when the prosecution is ready to charge you officially. This is also known as a court mention. The date, time and location of the Mentions Court you must attend will be stated in the notice, summons, or bail bond issued to you.

Depending on your case, you may have to attend court more than once. You will receive a mention slip stating the venue, date and time for your next court hearing at the end of your court mention.

Tip

Keep your mention slip and take note of your court dates. If you cannot remember when your next court date is, you can log on to the Integrated Case Management System (ICMS) to access your case file.

Attendance is compulsory

A Warrant of Arrest may be issued against you if you do not attend court. If you have valid reasons why you cannot attend court on the date and time stated, you should apply to change your mention date via ICMS or in writing to the court.

If you do not attend court while on bail (also known as jumping bail), your bailor will have to explain to the court whether they took reasonable steps to comply with their bailor duties.If the court does not consider their actions reasonable, it may forfeit any money or property pledged as security for bail.

If you are ill on the day of your court hearing, you will need to provide an original medical certificate (MC) that excuses you from attending court.

The court will only accept your MC if it is completely and properly filled in with all of the following:

  • The name of the medical practitioner who issued the certificate.
  • The name of the hospital or clinic at which the medical practitioner practises.
  • The signature of the medical practitioner in full (must not be merely initialled).
  • A rubber stamp authentication showing the medical practitioner's full name and designation in the hospital or clinic.
  • A statement which specifically indicates you are medically unfit to attend court.
  • Your full name and the dates on which you are unfit to attend court.

If you are out on bail, you should arrange for your bailor to submit the MC to court on the day of your court hearing. Other supporting documents such as a medical report, doctor’s or hospital memo may also be submitted.

You will need to present a valid letter of authorisation (1) if you are attending court on behalf of:
  • A body corporate
  • A partnership
  • A limited liability partnership
  • An unincorporated association

You must bring the letter of authorisation along with you to every court hearing. This is because the court needs to be certain that the person appearing in court is duly authorised and appointed by the organisation that they are representing.

Note

You cannot attend court on behalf of a person from your organisation if they are being charged as an individual.

For example, if the Managing Director of your company is the accused, they have to attend court personally to face the charge. You cannot attend court as their proxy.

Resources

Refer to:

Related questions

You may be represented by a lawyer. Generally speaking, you should be present in court even if a lawyer is representing you, unless the court grants you permission to be exempt from a court hearing (also known as dispensing with the personal attendance of the accused).

If you have no lawyer, you must attend in person.

Footnotes

(1) Section 117 of the Criminal Procedure Code


2021/03/02

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