If I should ever be tempted to think that my years of experience practicing in the criminal courts in Scotland means that I know all there is to know about procedure then the case of AA v HM Advocate  HCJAC 17 serves as an abrupt slap in the face.
Practitioners will be well aware that one of the features of our solemn criminal procedure is, that where a prosecution for serious crime is in contemplation, proceedings begin in the Sheriff Court on a Petition. The accused will appear in private before a Sheriff who will decide, amongst other things, whether the accused can be admitted to bail and, if so, under what conditions.
The Crown will then, subject to certain time limits, require to decide whether to prosecute and, if so, in which court. More serious crimes are prosecuted in the High Court of Justiciary. Those proceedings commence with the service of the indictment, containing the charges against the accused, citing him to a Preliminary Hearing. In practical terms, this means that by the time the case calls before a High Court Judge, the decision whether to grant or refuse bail has already been made by the Sheriff.
The question arises: – Should the accused wish to have that decision reviewed, which court has jurisdiction?
I confess to having formed the view that the matter required to go back before the Sheriff Court where the original decision was made. In my defence, I was not alone in this view. However, the decision in AA makes it clear that I was wrong. Once the Preliminary Hearing has called in the High Court, any question relating to bail should be addressed to that Court.
The practical consequence is this – where at the Preliminary Hearing, as often happens, a trial is fixed which requires an extension to the custody time-bar (140 days) any resultant application for bail should be made to the Preliminary Hearing Judge.