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If the jury's verdict is 'guilty', the accused is said to have been convicted. To reach a verdict of guilty, the judge, magistrate or jury must find that the prosecution case has been proved beyond reasonable doubt.


The convicted person becomes the 'prisoner' and will be sentenced by the judge or magistrate.

When the offender is to be sentenced, the prosecutor reads out the facts of the case and the defence counsel presents a plea in mitigation. A plea in mitigation usually discusses the circumstances of the facts leading up to the incident, the background of the offender and addresses the sentence. The judge decides on an appropriate penalty based on a number of factors including:

  • the facts of the offence, including its seriousness
  • injury, loss or damage suffered by the victim - your Victim Impact Statement provides  information to the judge by stating how the offence has affected you
  • the personal circumstances of the accused
  • any efforts by the accused to make good any loss suffered by the victim
  • previous offending behaviour
  • the law.

The offender may be sentenced at this appearance or the matter can be adjourned to enable the judge to obtain a pre-sentence report prior to determining a penalty.

Juveniles who plead, or are found, guilty

If the juvenile pleads 'guilty' their lawyer will speak to the court for them. The judge or magistrate may ask to hear from a juvenile justice officer or the juvenile's parents. If they have committed previous offences, their history will be handed to the court.

If the accused is found 'guilty', the magistrate or judge will consider the appropriate punishment or penalty. They will consider not only the crime but the person as an individual. The decision may not be made the same day. They may have to come back if a report about them is required from the juvenile justice officer.

The most serious offenders and repeat offenders face the most serious penalties.

Penalties range from no punishment; fines and compensation action (which can be imposed on the juvenile or the adult responsible for their care); a good behaviour bond which is a promise not to re-offend; rehabilitation courses; supervised (unpaid) community work; to a custodial sentence in a detention centre.

More information on remand, detention centres and bail is available from the Children's Court.

Last updated: 12-Apr-2019

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