District Court of Western Australia

Retention & Disposal of Court Records in Criminal Matters


Criminal Procedure Rules 2005 rule 50(2) requires the Court to return each exhibit to the party who tendered it or to a person who appears to a Registrar to be entitled to it. If an appeal is commenced, the exhibits are provided to the Court of Appeal.

Once the appeal period has passed, the Court’s practice is to return the exhibit to the party who tendered it. 

Exhibits tendered by the prosecution are returned pursuant to arrangements with the relevant prosecuting agency. If the prosecution considers it appropriate that a particular exhibit which was tendered by the defendant be returned to the prosecution, the prosecuting agency should write to the Court, copied to the lawyers for the defendant, stating why the document should be returned to the prosecution. The letter should be received prior to the expiration of the appeal period. The letter will be reviewed by a Registrar who will make a determination as to the party to whom the exhibit is to be returned.

Where the defendant is represented, the exhibits tendered by the defence are returned to the defendant’s lawyer by leaving them in the firm’s pigeon hole at the Court or by returning the exhibits by registered post or courier. For bulky items and other items which cannot be sent by mail or courier, the defendant’s lawyer will be contacted directly to discuss the most appropriate manner in which the return the exhibits. In each case, the recipient will be asked to sign and return a receipt.

Where the defendant is not represented the Court will deal with the exhibits on a case by case basis.

Other Court Records

The Court’s policy for the retention and disposal of court records are set out in in the Consolidated Practice Directions & Circulars.

Last updated: 1-Jul-2019

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