Magistrates Court and Childrens Court
If the defendant has pleaded not guilty and the matter has proceeded to hearing, after all the evidence is heard in the Children's or Magistrates Court, the Magistrate will decide if the defendant is guilty or not guilty.
If the defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty, the Magistrate must decide whether they will record a conviction against the defendant. The Magistrate must decide what to do next. This decision is called the sentence.
After hearing evidence in the Supreme Court, and having explained all the evidence to the jury, the judge will ask the jury to retire to consider their verdict. This may take a few hours or a few days. hen they have made their decision, the jury will return to the court room and the jury foreman will read out their decision.
In circumstances where the accused has elected a judge alone trial, the judge will decide the verdict. At the end of the trial, the judge may reserve their decision and hand it down on another day.
If the accused is found guilty, then they are convicted. The judge may pass sentence immediately. However, usually the case will be adjourned to another date so the judge can consider the appropriate sentence should be. The judge may order that a pre-sentence report be prepared for the sentence hearing.
If the accused is found 'not guilty', it does not necessarily mean that the magistrate, judge or jury did not believe you. It simply means that the charge against the accused could not be legally proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
If the accused is found to suffer from mental impairment, they may be found either unfit to plead or not guilty as a result.
You have a right to information and an explanation about the verdict. You can speak with the police case officer and the prosecutor to help you understand the verdict. However no one will know how a jury reached their verdict.
If the accused is convicted of the offence, the Judge must decide what to do next. This decision is called the sentence.
If you have chosen to do a Victim Impact Statement, this is the time a copy is given to the Court, the accused and their solicitor.