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Explanation: There are two methods for claiming damages: through civil or criminal proceedings. For civil proceedings reports must be lodged within one year of the accident or assault. If criminal proceedings are to be taken, the report must be made within two months of the incident. In the event of not reporting this within the two-month deadline, only civil proceedings can be taken
Action is taken on the order of the Examining Magistrate. It is his/her sole decision to order arrest or further investigation by the Police. The Magistrate will summon witnesses as necessary. Their costs would be recoverable from the court but experience shows that reimbursements of expenses are sometimes less than expected. It can take up to two years or longer for a case to be brought to trial.
Police reports covering accidents and assaults are considered to be court property and are not readily available to the general public. Prosecuting (including privately engaged lawyers) and defence counsel, together with their clients, may have access to the papers. Copies are rarely made available but it is possible for the interested parties or their legal representative to apply to the Examining Magistrate for a copy of a particular report, although in practice it is seldom released.