The indictment hearing is a preliminary hearing that takes place before the judge for the control of guarantees, in which the Attorney General’s Office informs a person of his or her status as an accused when from the material evidence, physical evidence or legally obtained information it is possible to reasonably infer that the accused is the author of or a participant in the crime under investigation. If appropriate, the prosecutor may request at this time the imposition of the corresponding security measure, and is the first opportunity for the defendant to plead guilty to the charges and obtain a reduced sentence.
The indictment hearing is a fundamental procedure within the criminal process in Colombia. The purpose of the hearing is to ensure that the accused has clear and complete knowledge of the charges against him, and that he is able to defend himself adequately throughout the criminal proceedings.
What is done during the indictment hearing?
During the indictment hearing, the prosecutor must clearly explain to the judge the charges against the accused, based on the evidence and information gathered during the investigation. The defendant has the right to be present at the hearing, receive detailed information about the charges and have the opportunity to respond to the accusations against him/her. In some cases, the defendant may be represented by a defense attorney.
The importance of the indictment hearing is that it is the first step in ensuring that the criminal process is conducted in a fair and equitable manner. It allows the Prosecutor’s Office to formally file charges against the accused, which initiates the criminal trial stage. It is also a mechanism to guarantee the rights of the accused, since he/she has the opportunity to know the charges against him/her and to present his/her version of the facts before a judge.
If the judge determines that there is sufficient evidence to sustain the charges, the accused will be formally charged and will proceed to the next stage of the criminal process. If, on the other hand, the judge determines that there is insufficient evidence to sustain the charges, the case may be terminated at that point or additional charges may be allowed to be filed with new evidence.
The indictment hearing is a crucial stage of the criminal process in Colombia, the purpose of which is to formally charge an accused person and, in this sense, to ensure that the criminal process is conducted in a fair and transparent manner. In addition, it allows the defendant to have access to the information necessary to adequately prepare his or her defense. The indictment hearing is a fundamental right of the accused and its compliance is essential for the protection of human rights and constitutional guarantees in Colombia.