Being charged with a criminal offence and having to front up to court can be a daunting process. If you choose Mantzoros & Partners to act for you we will be right by your side to make the process easier and do our very best to explain the process to you along the way.
You might expect that your matter will be dealt with on the first occasion. You will go into court, tell the Magistrate how it is all a big mistake, everyone will understand and that will take care of it. Unfortunately, unless you plead guilty on the first occasion (which generally is not recommended) your matter will not be resolved on the first hearing date.
We recommend that on the first hearing date a copy of all of the evidence (as may be available at that time) against you is obtained so that you can consider it. The court hearing will be adjourned for approximately four weeks, during which time you can consider the evidence against you and (if applicable) negotiate with the prosecution. If negotiations are unsuccessful and you wish to defend the charges, then a pre-trial conference is scheduled within the court.
A pre-trial conference is similar to a negotiation or mediation with a Magistrate involved. The parties will point out weaknesses in each other’s cases and try to reach a compromise on any possible level. If a deal cannot be done, then the matter is listed for trial. At trial both the prosecution and defence will present their evidence and a Magistrate, Judge or Jury will determine if you are guilty of the charged offence.
It should be noted that Major Indicatable Charges have additional procedural steps before the matter can be listed for trial.
What Should I Wear?
You should dress appropriately for your court date. More than one person has been ejected from the court room for dressing inappropriately.
Work clothes (if clean and neat) are acceptable and have the added bonus of reminding the court that you are gainfully employed and a productive member of society. If you do not have work clothes, or they are inappropriate for court then we suggest you wear clean, neat semi-formal clothes. Whether it is a simple or complex matter, it is important to dress appropriately for court.
That doesn’t mean that you have to wear a suit and tie. Nonetheless, there is definitely a difference between a pair of slacks with a button-up shirt compared to thongs, shorts and tank tops. You want to present the best image you can to the court and show the court that you are taking the proceedings seriously.
Do I Have To Say Anything?
You have the general right to silence both to police and in Court. Obviously, if you have not hired a lawyer, you will have to speak to the Magistrate and explain what you want to do (ie plead guilty or not guilty, request an adjournment, etc.). If you have hired a lawyer, then it is their job to put you case to the Court. This means that they will generally do all of the talking and there is no need for you to make any other comments. Making any interjections or comments during the proceedings is frowned upon and may result in further charges of Contempt of Court.
You will however be required to speak if you are pleading guilty. You will be directly asked how you are pleading and you should respond simply by saying, “guilty”. There may also be opportunities for you to speak if you plead not guilty and you give evidence at trial.
Contact our offices on 08 8396 3143 to arrange a free no obligation first interview.