A “first directions hearing” is heard some time shortly before a trial. They are generally heard at 9am.
They do not take very long in Court.
The first directions hearing in a sexual offence trial is mainly aimed at case management to make sure that everything is tracking along efficiently and appropriately.
A directions hearing enables the Court, amongst other things, to check that witnesses are available and that the accused has funds in place to pay for their representation. People can raise preliminary issues that they think will affect the duration of the trial or other issues.
During a directions hearing, the Judge will make any necessary orders or directions relating to the case.