At the trial, the accused may be tried by judge alone or by judge and jury. The purpose of the trial is to present all relevant admissible evidence to the court. The jury will decide the guilt or innocence of the accused person.
In most cases, matters are held in an open court and members of the public may be present.
If the accused is a juvenile, he or she will appear in the Children's Court.
The accused appears in the dock and a document known as an 'indictment' is presented by the prosecutor. The indictment details the alleged offence. It is read by the judge's associate to the accused who is asked to plead 'guilty' or 'not guilty'.
If the accused pleads 'guilty', he or she will be sentenced by the judge. If the accused pleads 'not guilty' then the trial begins.
The prosecutor starts with an address to the jury, outlining the State's case against the accused, and then calls witnesses to give evidence, who the defence can cross-examine. After the cross- examination has finished, the prosecutor may re-examine the witness. The defence case follows the same procedure.
After all the evidence has been presented, the prosecution and the defence review their cases in final addresses to the jury. The judge then goes through the evidence clarifying any points of law for the jury.
The jury leaves the courtroom to consider the evidence and tries to reach a verdict.
Victims have the right to be kept informed about the progress of court trials.
Last updated: 18-Feb-2013
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