A person charged with a crime is called an accused in the Supreme and County Courts (and a defendant in the Magistrates’ Court).
A person charged with a crime may be dissatisfied with their conviction or sentence or with a particular ruling by the magistrate or judge hearing the matter; they can apply or appeal to a higher court to have that conviction, sentence or ruling altered.
A convicted offender who has been granted leave to appeal, and is now appealing.
A convicted offender who is applying for leave to appeal.
The first appearance of an accused before a judge where the charges are read and the plea recorded.
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.
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 the case to move to a higher court.
– Committal mention
A short administrative hearing to list a committal hearing or to determine whether a matter has resolved.
Money given to a victim of crime usually after conviction to pay for pain and suffering, expenses incurred (including medical) arising from the offence.
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’.
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.
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.
An action that is against the law and for which people can be punished.
Asking a witness questions about evidence they have given during the examination-in-chief. The defence barrister cross-examines prosecution witnesses and the prosecutor cross-examines defence witnesses.
– Crown Prosecutor
A barrister who is appointed to prosecute criminal cases on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
– Directions hearing
A short court appearance to determine the possibility of resolving a matter or to iron out issues that may affect the trial.
A decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions to bring the charges against an accused person in the County Court or Supreme Court to an end. The prosecution files a Notice of Discontinuance with the Court. This formally brings the case to an end.
The principle that a person may not be tried or sentenced twice for the same offence.
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.
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. This protects the property from confiscation or payment of compensation, provided they can satisfy the court of a number of requirements under that Act.
A person is guilty if they have 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.
In Victoria, there are indictable offences (more serious offences) and summary offences (less serious offences). Indictable offences are prosecuted by the Director of Public Prosecutions in the County and Supreme Courts. Summary offences are prosecuted by Victoria Police in the Magistrates’ Court. A person charged with an indictable offence has a right to a trial by jury.
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.
The final order or set of orders made by a judge after a court hearing.
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.
Kings Counsel. A very experienced barrister. (Previously this title was Queens Counsel, or QC).
The set of rules developed by the government to deal with, among other things, crime.
A person who is trained in the law and who advises people about the law. See also barrister and solicitor.
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 cases to move to a higher court (County Court or Supreme Court).
– Magistrates’ Court
The court that hears less serious matters (summary offences). There is no jury in the Magistrates’ Court.
– Nolle prosequi
An announcement by the prosecution to discontinue proceedings for matters committed to trial before 1 January 2010.
– Oath or affirmation
A promise made by a witness in court to tell the truth. An oath is a religious promise, made by swearing on a religious text. A non-religious promise is called an affirmation.
Office of Public Prosecutions. The office consisting of lawyers and support staff who prosecute on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The release of a prisoner prior to completion of their sentence, usually subject to restrictions and/or conditions.
A statement by an accused person as to whether they are guilty or not guilty.
A hearing before a judge or magistrate after an accused person has been found guilty by a jury or after they have pleaded guilty. The prosecution and defence make submissions to the magistrate or judge about the sentence. 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.
A Crown Prosecutor, private barrister or OPP Solicitor Advocate who appears in court on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions. The prosecutor presents the case against the accused person to the court.
– Restraining order
A restraining order is a court order obtained by the DPP over property of an accused person. It prevents a person from selling or otherwise disposing of that property without court approval. This ensures that the property is available for confiscation to the State of Victoria or for compensation to victims of crime. Whether or not property is confiscated depends upon requirements under the Confiscation Act 1997 and the outcome of any exclusion application.
Senior Counsel. A very experienced barrister.
– Sentencing court
The court that decides on the penalty to be given to an offender who has been convicted of a crime.
A lawyer who prepares a matter for court.
– Solicitor Advocate
An OPP solicitor who appears in court on behalf of the DPP.
Solicitor for Public Prosecutions. The SPP is the head of the Office of Public Prosecutions.
A written document made and signed by a witness, telling police what they know about a crime.
A document informing someone they must go to a court to give evidence as a witness in the County Court or Supreme Court.
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. Criminal trials in the Supreme Court are before a judge and a jury.
A court hearing in the County Court or Supreme Court before a judge and jury. At a criminal trial, the jury must decide, based on the evidence, whether the accused person is guilty or not guilty of the alleged crime.
The decision of the jury, after a criminal trial, about whether the accused person is guilty or not guilty of the alleged crime.
– 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.
The Victims and Witness Assistance Service at the Office of Public Prosecutions. This service is staffed by experienced social workers who provide information and support to victims and witnesses during the prosecution process.
A person who appears in a court to tell what they know about a crime or other event.
The place where a witness stands when they are giving evidence in court.