Year 12 Legal Studies Crime Portfolio
The Criminal Trial Process
1. Describe the role of the courts in the Criminal Justice Process: (300 – 400 Words)
Once a formal charge has been laid against a person, a hearing or trial of the accused will need to take place in an appropriate court. There are many courts that have jurisdiction to hear criminal offences. The right court for the matter to be heard will depend on a number of issues this includes: The seriousness of the matter, in particular whether it involves a summary offence or an indictable offence Whether the matter is being heard for the first time or whether it involves an appeal The nature of the offence – some courts or divisions within courts will have authority to hear particular types of offences. The age of the accused, particularly where the accused is a child or young person under 18. The type of hearing – whether it’s a bail hearing or a commit hearting/trial. Whether the alleged crime is an offence under state law or federal law.
The case will then be heard at the appropriate place within the court hierarchy. This refers to a system of courts, this includes lower courts – these courts deal will less serious offences such as summary offences, to intermediate and high courts – these courts deal with more serious offences as well as appeals that come from the lower court.
Each court has its own jurisdiction or area over which it has authority to hear matters. Minor matters such as summary offences are dealt with lower in the court hierarchy; the higher courts are reserved for more serious matters, indictable offences and appeals from the lower courts. The authority for a court to hear a matter for the first time is known as Original Jurisdiction. The authority to review matters on appeal from another court is known as the Appellate Jurisdiction
The local court is the first point of call for most criminal matters in NSW. It also has jurisdiction to hear civil law matters up to the value of $100,000 The local court has jurisdiction to deal with summary offences and conducts committal proceedings (where a magistrate determines if there is enough evidence for a case to proceed to trial in a higher court). In a local court there is no jury.
Local matters are tried solely in front of a magistrate.
Local court is where bail hearings are usually heard and where committal proceeding, a magistrate will hear the prosecutions evidence and determine whether it is sufficient to support conviction by a jury.
Coroner’s court is a local court that deals specifically with the cause and manner of a person’s death and with fires and explosions where property has been damaged or a person has been injured. The role of a coroner is to determine the identity of the deceased and the date, place, manner and medical cause of death. The Coroner’s court may investigate disappearances, deaths where a medical certificate has not been issued, or deaths that occur in unusual or suspicious circumstances, such as deaths occurring: In a violent or unnatural way
Suddenly and with unknown cause
After an accident (up to one year and one day) that may have contributed to the death In a police custody or in a prison/detention Centre.
While receiving care or medical treatment, or within 24 hours of administration of an anesthetic.
Children’s Court deals with matters relating to the care and protection of children and young people as well as criminal matters concerning children and young people whom are under 18 years old, or who were under 18 at the time of an alleged offence. General public is prohibited from viewing these proceedings in order to protect the identity of the children and young people. Is presided over by a magistrate; it has no jury.
Children’s court Magistrates have specialized training in dealing with youth matters, and proceedings, formalities and available sentences are...
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