A brief guideline to a Criminal Court Procedure for a Defendant in NSW
Having an altercation with somebody can escalate to undesirable result. A simple argument can result to unnecessary grudge between two parties, worse some even go to court to elevate their dispute.
While the Court of Law is open in entertaining the complaints of any parties, everything must be weighed and considered before we resort to filing of a Complaint. Any decision or resolution made by the Honourable Court can have a drastic effect to our lives.
In New South Wales, if someone files a Criminal Complaint against you, the Court of Law will send you a Court Attendance Notice (CAN). As a Defendant you will need to be very careful with your subsequent actions since a Criminal Complaint has the possibility to change your life drastically.
Upon receiving the Court Attendance Notice, the Defendant should take note of the Details of the Alleged Offence, the Court Address where the case is listed and the date when the attendance of the Defendant is required. At this stage, it is wise to get a Legal Advice of your local counsel in order for the Defendant to be fully prepared at the day of his attendance in Court. The Defendant also has two options to choose from, which are the filing of a Written Notice of Pleading or Attending the Hearing set by the Court in CAN.
Filing a Written Notice of Pleading
The Defendant may file a Written Notice of Pleading seven days before the date of the Hearing listed in the CAN. In a Written Notice of Pleading, the Defendant will make his plea of Guilty or Not Guilty. He will not be required to attend the court if he filed this Pleading. However the Defendant must contact the Court Registry first before he opts for this option.
The Defendant must also state in his pleading any information including any circumstances that is directly or indirectly connected to the alleged offence. The Court may take this into consideration in determining whether a penalty should be imposed and the degree of the penalty to be imposed.
A written notice will be sent by the Court Registry once the Magistrate promulgated its order. This will include the penalty and/or fine that may be imposed by the court.
If you are a foreigner in Australia and/or English is not your first language, you may ask the court for an interpreter to assist you. You should contact the court at least 14 days before your hearing so that they can make the necessary preparations for your interpreter.
How to Enter a Plea
Entering a Plea is usually held at the first day of the Defendant in Court. The Court will ask the Defendant whether he plead guilty or not guilty to the offence charged.
If the Defendant pleads guilty, the case is usually rounded up on the same day and the Magistrate will order the prosecutor to present the facts relating to the offence and for the criminal and/or traffic record of the Defendant.
The Defendant then will be given an opportunity to present his side to the Magistrate including a brief background of his character and any other circumstances which can possibly affect the decision of the Magistrate.
In case the Defendant filed a Written Notice of Pleading, the Magistrate will take all the stated information before he makes any decision.
The Magistrate at this point will now proclaim his verdict and depending on the resolution, the Defendant will be made to sign necessary papers in the Court Registry.
If he enters a plea of not guilty, a hearing will held and the Magistrate will order the prosecutor to serve you a copy of the brief of evidence. This will contain all the evidences gathered that will be used to hold you guilty of the crime charged.
The Magistrate will inquire the number of witnesses each party may present and it will set the schedule for the hearing of all these witnesses. This information is a mandatory requirement in the filing of a Written Notice of Pleading.
The Court Registry will send a written notice to advise the Defendant the date of the hearing of his case. It will include the schedule for all of his witnesses.
Most hearing is open to public. The Defendant can get all the moral support from his family and friends during these hearings but proper decorum before the Magistrate must be observed.
This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers. Criminal lawyers Melbourne, Criminal Lawyers Criminal lawyers ,Criminal lawyers Broadmeadows ,
Disclaimer : This article is just a summary of the subject matter being discussed and should not be regarded as a comprehensive legal advice for you to defend yourself alone. If you are charged with criminal offences, it is recommended that you seek legal assistance from criminal lawyers.