You must know that in Queensland, criminal cases are brought before the District Court or the Supreme Court. You also know that criminal cases brought before the District Court or Supreme Court are serious criminal cases that involve penalties of imprisonment – they are not criminal charges that can be dealt with summarily with a penalty such as a fine.
So how does a criminal charge get started?
One way is when a person who is aggrieved files a private complaint to the police by giving a sworn statement. This sworn statement becomes the basis of the police to conduct an investigation. When the police have collected enough evidence, they ask the prosecutor to issue an indictment. This generally starts the criminal proceedings.
In criminal cases such as assault or manslaughter or murder, the victim is usually found. The physical and medical evidence are collected and this forms the basis for an indictment. The Coroner conducts an inquest to determine if the death of a person is a reportable death. A reportable death is death that is not due to illness, disease, or old age but may be due to violence. When the Coroner has established that an indictable offense has been committed, he writes out a post-mortem examination report which he submits to the Director of Public Prosecutions. It is the prosecutor who institutes criminal proceedings.
There are also cases when the prosecutor presents an ex officio indictment. This happens when the Prosecutor has investigated and collected evidence from the police or from a private complainant regarding the commission of a crime and the Prosecutor writes up an indictment. The indictment is presented in either the District Court or the Supreme Court and the court may refer the indictment for a review to make sure that there is no abuse of process and that the indictment is sufficiently supported by evidence to be tried.
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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.