Here are some of the common terms that you will likely hear if you have a matter going to Court:
- Indictable offence: A charge that is serious enough to be heard in the County Court before a jury (trial).
- Indictable Offence Triable Summarily: Some indictable offences are designated at law to be able to be heard in the Magistrates Court if the accused person consents (eg: theft, intentionally causing injury, possession of drugs)
- Summary offence: A less serious charge that must be heard in the Magistrates Court (eg: drink driving, driving suspended, low level assaults).
- Mention: The first listing of your matter
- Further Mention: A second or subsequent listing of your matter
- Contest Mention: When you have indicated to the Court at a ‘Mention’ that you intend to contest the charge.
- Adjournment: When your case is postponed to another date
- Plea: When you intend to plead guilty to the charge and have the opportunity to address the court about the sentence they should impose.
- Filing Hearing: The first listing of an indictable charge where dates are set by the Court for a Committal Mention.
- Committal Mention: When you are charged with an ‘indictable offence’ and your lawyer discusses the charges and the witnesses required for a Committal Hearing with the Magistrate and the Prosecution.
- Committal Hearing: Before the charges go to trial where the defence gets the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses about issues in the case and the strength of the evidence.
Arraignment: When an accused person tells the Court formally whether they are pleading guilty or not guilty.
- Brief/Hand Up Brief: The prosecution case against you including witness statements and other evidence.
- OPP: Office of Public Prosecutions (indictable offences only)
- Diversion: In the Magistrates Court for typically low level/first time offences which allows an accused to avoid having a criminal record if they admit the facts of the offence amongst other conditions.
- Summons: Means that police may not have charged you after interviewing you, but have decided to charge you at a later date. The summons will either be hand delivered or sent by mail and requires you to attend Court on a nominated date contained in the notice.
- Bail: Where the police have charged you but decide to release you into the community. You will be required to sign a document to promise to attend Court on a later date and are often required to comply with conditions on the bail document (such as living at a particular address).
- Remand: Where the police decide to keep you in custody after charging you because they consider that the charges are too serious, that you won’t show up to Court and/or that you are a risk of committing further offences if released into the community.
- New Facts and Circumstances: If you have previously applied for and been refused bail, you must demonstrate new facts and circumstances before you are able to make another application for bail. Discuss this with Melinda, but examples may include: having a rehab facility become available for drug treatment or a significant delay caused by the prosecution.