If you’re involved in a Criminal case in Court and you’ve chosen to challenge or contest the charges against you, your case will move towards a trial being conducted.
The purpose of conducting a trial is to allow the Court to review the relevant evidence and decide whether you’re guilty of the charges brought against you.
During a trial, both sides will be given enough time and fair opportunity to address the Court fully on their side of the case. The Prosecutor and you’ll take turns to present your respective cases. You should wait patiently for your turn to speak.
You should take your own notes and record down what was said by the witnesses. If you need a pen and paper, you can ask for them.
In the course of a trial, the Judge can interrupt you or the witnesses and ask questions to clarify and to get additional facts so that the Judge has all the information needed to decide your case.
There are 3 main stages in a trial:
- Stage 1: Start of Prosecution’s case & Examination of Prosecution’s witness(es) – the main purpose for this is for the Prosecution to produce and present the evidence that they feel supports and proves the allegations made against you and that show how you’ve committed the offence
- Stage 2: Defence’s case & Examination of Accused and Defence’s witness(es) – the main purpose for this is for the Defence to produce and present the evidence that you feel supports your defence and disproves the allegations made against you and that show how you’ve not committed the offence or how there’s reasonable doubt that you committed the offence
- Stage 3: Closing Submissions & Verdict (Judgment and Decision by the Court) – the main purpose for this is for each side (i.e. the Prosecution and the Defence) to summarise and highlight the key parts of the evidence that was presented at the trial that they each feel supports their respective cases together and also to present their arguments to convince the Court to make a decision in favour of their case. The Court will review the arguments and come to a final decision by issuing the verdict of judgment to declare either that the Prosecution has successfully proven its case against you and you will, therefore, be convicted of the offences, or that Prosecution has failed to prove its case against you and you will, therefore, be acquitted of the offences.
So, there you’ve it, some basic information on what happens in a Trial for a Criminal Case.