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Victims Access Line (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm) 1800 633 063
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Y | ZAAccusedThe person charged with committing the crime.AffidavitA statement, which is signed before a judicial officer or solicitor. The person signing the legal document states that the contents are, to the best of their knowledge, trueAffirmationA promise to tell the truth in court. Used by people who do not wish to swear on the Bible or other religious book.Alleged offenderUntil a person is proved to be guilty of a crime, the person is an alleged offender. The offender may also be referred to as the accused.AppealTo take a case to a higher court in order to challenge a decision. The person who appeals is the appellant.Apprehended Violence Orders (AVOs)AVOs are court orders that protect people from physical assault, stalking, harassment, intimidation or damage to property by another person.ArrestThe procedure where a person is taken into police custody to be charged with a criminal offence or to be brought before a court and must remain in police custody until they receive bail or until a court deals with their charges.
An agreement to turn up to court. The accused may be given bail by the police or the court. A person on bail is allowed to go free until their case is decided at court.Beyond reasonable doubtThe test (or standard of proof) used by a jury, judge or magistrate to decide if the accused is guilty or not guilty of each criminal charge. It must be proved beyond reasonable doubt that a person has committed an offence before they can be convicted.BreachTo break or to go against the rules or the law.Brief or Brief of EvidenceThis is a collection of statements from witnesses (both police and ordinary witnesses), medical reports, photographs, bail papers, charge sheets etc. that is given to the ODPP by the police after the police have finished their investigation and have charged the accused. The ODPP use the material contained within the brief of evidence to prosecute the accused.BriefThe evidence in written form, including the charge(s), witness statements, photographs etc. that the prosecution intends to use to prove the case
The allegation that a person has committed a specific crime.Charter of Victims RightsVictims of crime in New South Wales have a Charter to protect and promote their rights. The Charter of Victims Rights obliges government agencies to ensure that a victim is at all times treated with courtesy and compassion, and that their rights and dignity are respected.ChildUnder the
Children and Young Person's (Care and Protection) Act 1988 a child is defined as a person under the age of 16 years.Children's CourtThis is a special court (generally closed), which is used in most instances for hearings involving offenders under 18 years and for child protection matters.Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)This is a provision available to child witnesses and adult complainants in sexual assault matters so they can give evidence to the court from a remote location, via a television link to the courtroom.
Closed CourtWhen no one other than a witness support person can sit in the public gallery. The public are excluded and the press may be excluded.CommittalA hearing of all the evidence at the Local Court by a magistrate who then decides if there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial.ConvictionWhen a person accused of committing a criminal offence is guilty of that offence, a record of their guilt is recorded on their criminal history sheet.CourtThe building where the case is heard. Also used to describe in general terms the judicial officer hearing the case, such as a magistrate or judge.Court Attendance Notice (CANs)The notice issued to those accused of an offence requiring them to attend court.Court OfficerA person employed to assist with the running of the court. Generally this person will call your name when you are required by the court to give evidence. They can answer queries about when your matter is likely to be heard.CrimeAn illegal (or unlawful) act.Criminal historyA record of offences of which a person has been convicted.Cross-examinationWhen the lawyer for the accused (defence) asks questions of the witness about the evidence they have given and other matters.
The accused person's case and the lawyers who represent them.Defence counselA barrister who presents the accused person's case in court.Department of Community Services (DoCS)Promotes the safety and wellbeing of children and young people through a range of services including child protection.DockAn enclosure in a court where the accused sits during a trial.EEvidenceThis is information provided to the court. Your statement forms the basis of the information or evidence that you will give in court, i.e. what you saw, heard or experienced.Evidence-in-Chief/Examination-in-ChiefWhen the prosecutor asks the witness questions so that they can tell the court what happened.ExhibitsAll the other evidence (apart from statements from witnesses) needed to help present the case, such as documents, photographs, clothing or other items relevant to the case.
Evidence found where the crime happened, such as fingerprints, results of blood tests, DNA etc.Forensic Medical Examination/ProcedureThe victim and/or accused may be requested to undergo an examination, such as a mouth swab and hair samples, in order to provide possible evidence for the case.Forensic PatientAn accused person suffering from a mental illness so severe that at the time the crime was committed, the person could not form the intent to commit the crime. This term also refers to an accused person whose mental condition at the time of the trial renders him or her unfit to be tried. The accused is not unfit simply because he or she is unable to remember the events and unable to give a version to his or her counsel.HHung JuryIf the majority of the people on a jury cannot agree whether the accused is guilty or not guilty it is called a hung jury.IIndictable OffenceA serious criminal offence that is usually heard in a higher court before a judge and jury (or judge alone). Less serious indictable offences are usually heard in a Local Court.IndictmentThe formal charge for more serious cases. Used in the District and Supreme Courts.Instructing solicitorA solicitor who helps with the preparation of the case and helps the barrister in court.
The Judge is in charge of the court and makes sure that it is run fairly for both sides. The Judge is called 'your honour'. The Judge decides the sentence of a convicted offender.JuryTwelve people who listen to all the evidence to decide if the accused person is guilty or notLLegal argumentAn argument between the lawyers on both sides that has to be decided by the judge; the witness and jury are asked to leave the courtroom when this happens.MMagistrateThe person in charge of the Children's or Local Court who decides whether someone is guilty, not guilty or needs to be sent to the District Court for a trial; called 'your honour'.MentionA brief hearing to sort out what will happen with the case, such as setting a date for the committal hearing or deciding bail. It is not a full hearing of the case.NNon-Publication OrderIf you are under 16 years of age or a victim of sexual assault, your name and other details cannot be published or broadcast in the media unless you want them to be.
A promise to tell the truth in court by swearing on a religious book that is important to the person making the promise.ObjectionsWhen the defence or prosecution believe a question is not a fair one they can object and the judge/magistrate must decide based on the rules of the court.ODPPThe Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) is an independent body established by the State government to prosecute serious criminal offences. The ODPP provides a lawyer and/or Crown Prosecutor to prepare and present the case at court.OffenderA person who does something which is prohibited by law.Open CourtWhen people other than witnesses can sit in court.PPartiesThere are two parties to the proceedings in a criminal matter, the crown and the accused (defence).PleaWhen the accused tells the court whether they are guilty or not guilty of the charge.Police ProsecutorA person from the police who will present the evidence against the person who is accused of breaking the law.Pre-Sentence ReportA report to assist the court in deciding what sentence to give a person who is convicted of an offence.Prosecutor/ProsecutionA police officer (Children's or Local Courts) or trial lawyer (from the ODPP) representing the government in a criminal case and the interests of the crown in a court. In criminal cases, the prosecutor has the responsibility of deciding who and when to prosecute.Public GallerySeats at the back of the court where friends, family or anyone interested can sit quietly and listen.
A new trial of the same matter.SSentencingA range of penalties can be given during sentencing of a convicted offender including imprisonment, community service orders, good behaviour bonds and fines.Sheriff's OfficerAn officer responsible for security of all parties while at court. You can advise the Sheriff's Officer if you have any concerns for your safety.StatementA written document that sets out the evidence of a witness or an accused.SubpoenaA court order to summon (make) a witness come to court to give evidence and/or bring documents to court.Summary HearingA hearing to decide an offence in a Local Court by a Magistrate that is not sent for trial before a judge and jury.Summary OffenceA charge that is dealt with in the local court.Summing UpA judge's review of the evidence and explanation of the law for a jury.SummonsAn order from the local court requiring the accused to come to court to answer a charge.Support PersonSometimes a witness will have a support person who can sit near them in the courtroom or remote room.
A typed copy of what was said in the court.TrialA hearing in a court where all evidence is heard and a final decision is made.UUnanimousThis is where all members of the Jury agree that the accused is guilty or not guilty.UnrepresentedIf the accused does not have a lawyer.
The decision of a jury in a criminal trial.VictimThe person against whom a crime has been committed.Victims CardThe Victims Card identifies the police officer's name, contact phone number, name of the police station and COPS Event Number. The other side of the card also contains the Charter of Victims Rights.Victim Impact Statement (VIS)A statement read or presented after conviction and before the sentencing of an offender that informs the court about the harm suffered by the victim arising from the offence.WWitnessAny person who has to come to court and answer questions in front of a Magistrate or Judge and jury.YYoung personUnder the
Children and Young Person's (Care and Protection) Act 1998, a young person is defined as someone over the age of 16 years and under the age of 18.