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The Historical Development of the PCA Book of Church Order

Chapter 32 : General Provisions Applicable to all Cases of Process

Paragraph 9 :

32-9. When an offense, alleged to have been committed at a distance, is not likely otherwise to become known to the court having jurisdiction, it shall be the duty of the court within whose bounds the facts occurred, after satisfying itself that there is probable ground for accusation, to send notice to the court having jurisdiction, which shall at once proceed against the accused; or the whole case may be remitted for trial to the coordinate court within whose bounds the offense is alleged to have been committed.

[DIGEST : PCA 1973 and subsequent editions have "coordinate" in place of the older hyphenated "co-ordinate" used in the PCUS editions back to PCUS 1879. The final clause dates to PCUS 1879 and was not present in the earlier draft editions.]

ANTECEDENT TEXTS :
PCA 1973, RoD, 6-9, Adopted text, as printed in the Minutes of General Assembly, p. 147
and
Continuing Presbyterian Church 1973, RoD, 6-9, Proposed text, p. 44
When an offense, alleged to have been committed at a distance, is not likely otherwise to become known to the court having jurisdiction, it shall be the duty of the court within whose bounds the facts occurred, after satisfying itself that there is probable ground for accusation, to send notice to the court having jurisdiction, which shall at once proceed against the accused; or the whole case may be remitted for trial to the coordinate court within whose bounds the offense is alleged to have been committed.

1. PCUS 1933, VI-§201
2. PCUS 1925, VI-§201
3. PCUS 1879, Rules of Discipline, VI-9
When an offence, alleged to have been committed at a distance, is not likely otherwise to become known to the court having jurisdiction, it shall be the duty of the court within whose bounds the facts occurred, after satisfying itself that there is probable ground of accusation, to send notice to the court having jurisdiction, which shall at once to proceed against the accused ; or the whole case may be remitted for trial to the co-ordinate court within whose bounds the offence is alleged to have been committed.

PCUS 1869 draft, Canons of Discipline, VI-10
When an offence, alleged to have been committed at a distance, is not likely otherwise to become known to the court having jurisdiction, it shall be the duty of the court within whose bounds the facts occurred, after satisfying itself that there is probably [sic] ground of accusation, to send notice to the court having jurisdiction, which is at once to proceed against the accused.

PCUS 1867 draft, Canons of Discipline, VI-10
When an offence, alleged to have been committed at a distance, is not likely otherwise to become known to the court having jurisdiction, it shall be the duty of the court within whose bounds the facts occurred, after satisfying itself that there is probable ground of accusation, to send notice to the court having jurisdiction, which is at once to proceed against the accused.

COMMENTARY :
F.P. Ramsay, Exposition of the Book of Church Order (1898, pp. 198-199), on Rules of Discipline, VI-9:

180.--IX. When an offence, alleged to have been committed at a distance, is not likely otherwise to become known to the court having jurisdiction, it shall be the duty of the court within whose bounds the facts occurred, after satisfying itself that there is probable ground of accusation, to send notice to the court having jurisdiction, which shall at once proceed against the accused ; or the whole case may be remitted for trial to the co-ordinate court within whose bounds the offence is alleged to have been committed.
Here the co-ordinate court, by sending notice to the court having jurisdiction, puts that court in the same relation to the matter as if it had made the investigation itself, and raised a strong presumption of guilt (162). The transfer of the case to the court best able to get the witnesses may be done without the consent of parties. The court having jurisdiction must first appoint or accept a prosecutor before transferring the case. (See 192.) Cases should not thus be transferred except for grave reasons, especially if the accused objects.



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