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  • 04 The Justice System
  • Appearing in Court
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Appearing in Court

What are the penalties for a crime or offence? This chapter outlines the main penalties for crimes and the rules surrounding appealing a court’s decision as well as the process of laying a charge, the type of evidence that can be used in court, how the court reaches a verdict and what happens where there is a guilty plea.

Criminal Penalties for Indictable Offences

The Sentencing Act 1997 (Tas) (s7) sets out the sentencing options which courts can impose. Imprisonment The Criminal Code 1924 (Tas) does not set out specific penalties for particular crimes. Section 389 of the Code provides for the punishment of any crime by a period of imprisonment of up to ...

Appeals in the Supreme Court

A person who has been convicted by a jury, or has pleaded guilty and been sentenced by a Supreme Court judge, has a right of appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeal. The appeal must be made on one of the following grounds: against conviction on any ground which only involves a question of law...

Coroner’s Court

When an unnatural death or unexplained fire occurs, it is the practice for a coroner to hold a coroner's inquest. The coroner will also hold an inquest when informed by a police officer that a person has died within 24 hours after being given an anaesthetic during an operation, or has died in a m...

Legal Representation

If the defendant is not legally represented they should ask the magistrate to adjourn the matter so that they can obtain legal advice. Defendants who cannot afford legal advice can seek legal aid through their private solicitor or go to the Legal Aid Commission Office. Defendants can contact t...

Offences

What is a Summary Offence? Most criminal charges are summary offences heard by magistrates sitting in the Magistrates Court (Criminal Division) commonly called the Court of Petty Sessions.  A summary offence is one which can be heard by a magistrate. What is an Indictable Offence? An indictabl...

Offences tried by Judge and Jury: Indictable Offences

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Laying A Charge

An indictable offence is a more serious offence than a summary offence. Indictable offences are usually tried before the Supreme Court in a jury trial. There are some indictable offences that can be dealth with summarily (by a magistrate). See Indictable Offences. Deciding to Prosecute Although...

Plea of Guilty

Most charges are dealt with as a plea of guilty. This is where the defendant admits to the charge. Often this happens after negotiations with prosecution (normally through a lawyer). This may result in a more serious charge being dropped and replaced with a less serious charge. In this case the o...

Evidence

The Evidence Act 2001 (Tas) commenced in 2002. Evidence covers all the information given directly to the court by a witness or in the form of documents and of which the court takes notice because it complies with the ‘rules of evidence. The rules are as follows: Relevance One of the requirement...

Procedure for Defended Hearings

Prosecution and Defence If the defendant pleads ‘not guilty’ the case will be listed as a defended hearing. The Prosecution Case On the day of the hearing, the magistrate will first call on the police prosecutor (when the charge has been laid by the police and not by a private citizen) to pres...

The Court’s Verdict

After all the evidence is heard, the two sides can only comment on the evidence with the leave of the court. Such leave will usually only be given where the evidence is complex or a complicated legal issue arises. After hearing all the evidence and these addresses, the magistrate has the duty, wi...

Appeals in the Magistrates Court

When to Appeal An appeal may be made against a magistrate's decision to the Supreme Court. This can be done either against conviction or against the severity of the sentence. The appeal must be made within 21 days of conviction or sentence, though this period can be extended by making an applica...

Page last updated 19/03/2018

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