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First time in Court?

By Alessia Spense

Your first time in Court can be daunting. This article outlines what to expect at your first appearance so you can focus on your criminal charge and not worry about Court procedure.

You will have received a summons document telling you your first Court date. This document will also outline your charge and any conditions of police bail.

We encourage people to contact a lawyer as soon as they are charged.

When you enter Court, you will need to go through security screening.

You will then find yourself in the Court foyer, where you can wait for your lawyer. If you do not have a lawyer, you should let the Registrar at the front desk know that you do not have a lawyer. A duty lawyer will then assist you.

The foyer has a board with a list of names for those appearing in Court that day and the Court room they are appearing in. You should check you are in the correct building.

The Courtroom itself is open to the public, and there may be people seated in the back. At the front of the Courtroom is the Judge or Community Magistrate. They will have a Court attendant (Registrar) seated directly in front of them. The Courtroom has rows of tables. At the front is a Crown or Police prosecutor. Defence lawyers sit behind them. There are also probation officers at Court, and police staff.

When it is your turn to appear, you are expected to stand in the dock unless told otherwise. You do not speak to the Judge unless the Judge speaks to you. Your lawyer will speak for you.

Demystifying the Court process means you can focus on the importance of the hearing.

We can help you if you have been charged with a criminal offence. All of our barristers are highly experienced and between them appear daily in Court on matters including plea, bail, diversion, discharge without conviction, sentencing, proceeds of crime, pre-trials, judge-alone trials, jury trials and appeals. Contact our office for assistance.



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