Glossary

+Accused

A person charged with a crime is called an accused in the Supreme and County Courts (and a defendant in the Magistrates' Court). 

+Appeal
A person charged with a crime may be dissatisfied with his conviction or sentence or with a particular ruling by the magistrate or judge hearing the matter; he can apply or appeal to a higher court to have that conviction, sentence or ruling altered.
+Appellant
A convicted offender who has been granted leave to appeal, and is now appealing.
+Applicant
A convicted offender who is applying for leave to appeal.
+Arraignment
The first appearance of an accused before a judge where the charges are read and the plea recorded.
+Bail
An agreement made by a person charged with a criminal offence to appear at court when required and to abide by any special condition on what they can or cannot do while on bail. This can include a condition that they not approach or contact the victim.
+Barrister
A lawyer who appears in court representing either the prosecution or defence.
+Brief of evidence
A brief of evidence is a document compiled by the police officer who has investigated a crime. It includes all the details of the allegations. It includes the name and address of the person alleged to have committed a crime, the charges against them, and any further details needed by the prosecutor.
+Civil court
A court hearing non-criminal cases. A civil action is brought by one person against another person where it is alleged that one person has infringed the other’s legal rights.
+Committal hearing
A hearing conducted in a Magistrates’ Court, before a Magistrate sitting alone, to determine whether there is enough evidence for a trial to proceed before a judge and jury.
+Committal mention
A short administrative hearing to list a committal hearing or to ascertain whether a matter has resolved.
+Compensation
Money given to a victim of crime usually after conviction to pay for pain and suffering, expenses incurred (including medical) arising from the offence.
+Complainant
A victim in a criminal prosecution.
+Convicted offender
An accused person becomes a ‘convicted offender’ after they are found guilty and convicted. The courts often call a convicted offender a ‘prisoner’. This can be confusing because the person may not be ‘in prison’.
+Conviction
A person is convicted when they are found guilty by a jury or plead guilty before a judge or magistrate.
+County Court
The court that hears serious (indictable) matters and appeals from the Magistrates’ Court.
+Court
A room in which court hearings are held.
+Court network
Volunteer service that provides assistance to witnesses, victims of crime and their families or friends when they go to court.
+Crime
An action that is against the law and for which people can be punished.
+Cross-examination
Asking a witness questions about evidence he or she has given during the examination-in-chief. The defence barrister cross-examines prosecution witnesses and the prosecutor cross-examines defence witnesses.
+Crown prosecutor
A prosecutor who works solely for the Director of Public Prosecutions.
+Directions hearing
An informal court appearance to determine the possibility of resolving a matter or to iron out issues that may affect the trial.
+Discontinuance
An announcement by the prosecution to discontinue proceedings in matters committed to trial after 1 January 2010.
+Double jeopardy
The principle that a person may not be tried or sentenced twice for the same offence.
+DPP
Director of Public Prosecutions. An independent statutory officer responsible for conducting committal proceedings in the Magistrates’ Court; prosecuting serious crime in the County and Supreme Courts; and conducting criminal appeals in the County Court, the Court of Appeal and the High Court.
+Evidence
The information given to the court. Witnesses give evidence by telling the people in the court what they know. Sometimes items such as clothing, photographs or letters are shown to the court as evidence.
+Exclusion application
Where a person’s property has been restrained under the Confiscation Act 1997, they may apply to the court that made the restraining order for an order excluding their interest in that property, and so protecting it from confiscation or payment of compensation, provided they can satisfy the court of a number of requirements under that Act.
+Guilty
A person is guilty if he or she has been found guilty by a jury or pleaded guilty before a judge or magistrate.
+High Court of Australia
The highest court in the Australian judicial system.
+Indictable offences
Crimes where the accused has the right to a trial where guilt or innocence is determined by a jury.
+Judge
A person who is in charge of the court and who has the power to interpret the law and apply it, and to decide how to sentence a person who is found guilty of a criminal offence.
+Judgement
The final order or set of orders made by a judge after a court hearing.
+Jury
Twelve people, from the community, who are chosen to decide whether an accused is guilty or not guilty in a County Court or Supreme Court trial.
+Law
The set of rules developed by the government to deal with, among other things, crime.
+Lawyer
A person who is trained in the law and who advises people about the law. See also barrister and solicitor.
+LPS
Legal Prosecution Specialist. Highly experienced OPP solicitors who undertake specialist roles in particular practice areas.
+Magistrate
A person who hears cases in a Magistrates’ Court. Magistrates: • decide whether a person is innocent or guilty of a criminal offence • determine how to sentence a person who is found guilty • decide whether there is enough evidence for serious matters to be determined by higher courts (County and Supreme Courts).
+Magistrates' Court
The court that hears less serious matters (summary offences) and does not use a jury.
+Nolle prosequi
An announcement by the prosecution to discontinue proceedings for matters committed to trial before 1 January 2010.
+Oath
A promise to tell the truth in a court. Oaths can be given by swearing on a religious text such as the Bible or the Koran, or by making an affirmation.
+OPP
Office of Public Prosecutions. The office consisting of lawyers and support staff who prosecute on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
+Parole
The release of a prisoner prior to completion of their sentence, usually subject to restrictions and/or conditions.
+Plea
A statement by an accused person as to whether they are guilty or not guilty.
+Plea hearing
A hearing held before a judge or magistrate after an accused person has been found guilty by a jury or after they have pleaded guilty. It is the hearing at which submissions in relation to sentence are made and Victim Impact Statements are read out or given to the court.
+Police informant
The police officer in charge of the investigation and the main contact between police and the victim.
+Prosecutor
A Crown Prosecutor, barrister or OPP Solicitor Advocate who acts for the DPP to call witnesses and present evidence in court to prove a matter (show that the accused is guilty).
+QC
Queen’s Counsel.
+Restraining order
A court order that can be taken out by the DPP over the offender’s property. A restraining order stops the offender from getting rid of the property, and so preserving it for future confiscation to the State of Victoria or compensation to victims of crime.
+SC
Senior Counsel.
+Sentencing court
The court that decides on the penalty to be given to an offender who has been convicted of a crime.
+Solicitor
A lawyer who prepares a matter for court.
+Solicitor Advocate
An OPP solicitor who appears in court on behalf of the DPP.
+SPP
Solicitor for Public Prosecutions.
+SSOU
Specialist Sex Offences Unit.
+Statement
A written document made and signed by a witness, telling police what they know about a crime.
+Subpoena
A document informing someone they must go to a court to give evidence as a witness in the County Court or Supreme Court.
+Summons
A document informing someone they must go to a court to give evidence as a witness in a Magistrates’ court.
+Supreme Court
The superior court in Victoria that hears the most serious matters. A judge presides over the court and a jury decides the case.
+Trial
A court hearing in the County or Supreme Court before a judge and jury.
+Verdict
A decision given by a jury which tells the court whether a person is guilty or not guilty.
+Victim Impact Statement
A statement that can be made by a victim of crime to the sentencing court. The statement informs the court about how the crime has affected the victim and is taken into account by the court when sentencing the offender.
+WAS
Witness Assistance Service. A service within the OPP staffed by experienced social workers to provide ongoing information and support for witnesses and victims of crime going through the court system.
+Witness
A person who appears in a court to tell what he or she knows about a crime or other event.
+Witness box
The place where people stand or sit when they are giving evidence in a court.
-Accused

A person charged with a crime is called an accused in the Supreme and County Courts (and a defendant in the Magistrates' Court). 

-Appeal
A person charged with a crime may be dissatisfied with his conviction or sentence or with a particular ruling by the magistrate or judge hearing the matter; he can apply or appeal to a higher court to have that conviction, sentence or ruling altered.
-Appellant
A convicted offender who has been granted leave to appeal, and is now appealing.
-Applicant
A convicted offender who is applying for leave to appeal.
-Arraignment
The first appearance of an accused before a judge where the charges are read and the plea recorded.
-Bail
An agreement made by a person charged with a criminal offence to appear at court when required and to abide by any special condition on what they can or cannot do while on bail. This can include a condition that they not approach or contact the victim.
-Barrister
A lawyer who appears in court representing either the prosecution or defence.
-Brief of evidence
A brief of evidence is a document compiled by the police officer who has investigated a crime. It includes all the details of the allegations. It includes the name and address of the person alleged to have committed a crime, the charges against them, and any further details needed by the prosecutor.
-Civil court
A court hearing non-criminal cases. A civil action is brought by one person against another person where it is alleged that one person has infringed the other’s legal rights.
-Committal hearing
A hearing conducted in a Magistrates’ Court, before a Magistrate sitting alone, to determine whether there is enough evidence for a trial to proceed before a judge and jury.
-Committal mention
A short administrative hearing to list a committal hearing or to ascertain whether a matter has resolved.
-Compensation
Money given to a victim of crime usually after conviction to pay for pain and suffering, expenses incurred (including medical) arising from the offence.
-Complainant
A victim in a criminal prosecution.
-Convicted offender
An accused person becomes a ‘convicted offender’ after they are found guilty and convicted. The courts often call a convicted offender a ‘prisoner’. This can be confusing because the person may not be ‘in prison’.
-Conviction
A person is convicted when they are found guilty by a jury or plead guilty before a judge or magistrate.
-County Court
The court that hears serious (indictable) matters and appeals from the Magistrates’ Court.
-Court
A room in which court hearings are held.
-Court network
Volunteer service that provides assistance to witnesses, victims of crime and their families or friends when they go to court.
-Crime
An action that is against the law and for which people can be punished.
-Cross-examination
Asking a witness questions about evidence he or she has given during the examination-in-chief. The defence barrister cross-examines prosecution witnesses and the prosecutor cross-examines defence witnesses.
-Crown prosecutor
A prosecutor who works solely for the Director of Public Prosecutions.
-Directions hearing
An informal court appearance to determine the possibility of resolving a matter or to iron out issues that may affect the trial.
-Discontinuance
An announcement by the prosecution to discontinue proceedings in matters committed to trial after 1 January 2010.
-Double jeopardy
The principle that a person may not be tried or sentenced twice for the same offence.
-DPP
Director of Public Prosecutions. An independent statutory officer responsible for conducting committal proceedings in the Magistrates’ Court; prosecuting serious crime in the County and Supreme Courts; and conducting criminal appeals in the County Court, the Court of Appeal and the High Court.
-Evidence
The information given to the court. Witnesses give evidence by telling the people in the court what they know. Sometimes items such as clothing, photographs or letters are shown to the court as evidence.
-Exclusion application
Where a person’s property has been restrained under the Confiscation Act 1997, they may apply to the court that made the restraining order for an order excluding their interest in that property, and so protecting it from confiscation or payment of compensation, provided they can satisfy the court of a number of requirements under that Act.
-Guilty
A person is guilty if he or she has been found guilty by a jury or pleaded guilty before a judge or magistrate.
-High Court of Australia
The highest court in the Australian judicial system.
-Indictable offences
Crimes where the accused has the right to a trial where guilt or innocence is determined by a jury.
-Judge
A person who is in charge of the court and who has the power to interpret the law and apply it, and to decide how to sentence a person who is found guilty of a criminal offence.
-Judgement
The final order or set of orders made by a judge after a court hearing.
-Jury
Twelve people, from the community, who are chosen to decide whether an accused is guilty or not guilty in a County Court or Supreme Court trial.
-Law
The set of rules developed by the government to deal with, among other things, crime.
-Lawyer
A person who is trained in the law and who advises people about the law. See also barrister and solicitor.
-LPS
Legal Prosecution Specialist. Highly experienced OPP solicitors who undertake specialist roles in particular practice areas.
-Magistrate
A person who hears cases in a Magistrates’ Court. Magistrates: • decide whether a person is innocent or guilty of a criminal offence • determine how to sentence a person who is found guilty • decide whether there is enough evidence for serious matters to be determined by higher courts (County and Supreme Courts).
-Magistrates' Court
The court that hears less serious matters (summary offences) and does not use a jury.
-Nolle prosequi
An announcement by the prosecution to discontinue proceedings for matters committed to trial before 1 January 2010.
-Oath
A promise to tell the truth in a court. Oaths can be given by swearing on a religious text such as the Bible or the Koran, or by making an affirmation.
-OPP
Office of Public Prosecutions. The office consisting of lawyers and support staff who prosecute on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
-Parole
The release of a prisoner prior to completion of their sentence, usually subject to restrictions and/or conditions.
-Plea
A statement by an accused person as to whether they are guilty or not guilty.
-Plea hearing
A hearing held before a judge or magistrate after an accused person has been found guilty by a jury or after they have pleaded guilty. It is the hearing at which submissions in relation to sentence are made and Victim Impact Statements are read out or given to the court.
-Police informant
The police officer in charge of the investigation and the main contact between police and the victim.
-Prosecutor
A Crown Prosecutor, barrister or OPP Solicitor Advocate who acts for the DPP to call witnesses and present evidence in court to prove a matter (show that the accused is guilty).
-QC
Queen’s Counsel.
-Restraining order
A court order that can be taken out by the DPP over the offender’s property. A restraining order stops the offender from getting rid of the property, and so preserving it for future confiscation to the State of Victoria or compensation to victims of crime.
-SC
Senior Counsel.
-Sentencing court
The court that decides on the penalty to be given to an offender who has been convicted of a crime.
-Solicitor
A lawyer who prepares a matter for court.
-Solicitor Advocate
An OPP solicitor who appears in court on behalf of the DPP.
-SPP
Solicitor for Public Prosecutions.
-SSOU
Specialist Sex Offences Unit.
-Statement
A written document made and signed by a witness, telling police what they know about a crime.
-Subpoena
A document informing someone they must go to a court to give evidence as a witness in the County Court or Supreme Court.
-Summons
A document informing someone they must go to a court to give evidence as a witness in a Magistrates’ court.
-Supreme Court
The superior court in Victoria that hears the most serious matters. A judge presides over the court and a jury decides the case.
-Trial
A court hearing in the County or Supreme Court before a judge and jury.
-Verdict
A decision given by a jury which tells the court whether a person is guilty or not guilty.
-Victim Impact Statement
A statement that can be made by a victim of crime to the sentencing court. The statement informs the court about how the crime has affected the victim and is taken into account by the court when sentencing the offender.
-WAS
Witness Assistance Service. A service within the OPP staffed by experienced social workers to provide ongoing information and support for witnesses and victims of crime going through the court system.
-Witness
A person who appears in a court to tell what he or she knows about a crime or other event.
-Witness box
The place where people stand or sit when they are giving evidence in a court.