Glossary of Terms

The police will lay a Charge in court against an accused person. This document will contain sufficient detail to adequately describe the offence that is being alleged. It is often sent in the mail or delivered to the accused person by the police. If the accused has been arrested they will often receive the charge sheet at the time they are bailed.
The document on which a Charge is brought before the Court in the County and Supreme Courts.

The document which compels a person charged with an offence to appear before the court on a particular day.

A promise or ‘undertaking’ that compels a person to come to court and refrain from certain conduct. Eg: a Bail Undertaking may contain conditions in relation to where a person lives, who they associate with, the times that they must be at their home address or that they must report to a police station a certain number of times per week.
If a person is not released on bail they are said to be remanded in Custody. If this occurs there is often the capacity to make an Application for Bail.

This is a contested hearing where a person applies to be released on bail pending the outcome of their matter through the court.

When a matter comes before a court for a preliminary hearing of the matter.

When a matter in the Magistrates’ Court is contested it may be listed for a Contest Mention. At a Contest Mention the issues in dispute will be discussed by the lawyers and the Magistrate. The matter will either be adjourned for a Directions Hearing, Contested Hearing or a Plea Hearing.

The hearing of the matter when witnesses are called and a Magistrate will make a finding of guilty or not guilty.

When a matter is complex a court may order that a Directions Hearing be listed in order to deal with procedural issues so that the matter proceeds more smoothly when it progresses to a Contested Hearing.

A trial is a contested hearing in the County or Supreme Courts. It takes place before a Judge and Jury. Evidence is called from witnesses. The Judge does not determine the accused person’s guilt or innocence. That is solely the role of the members of the Jury. The Judge makes sure that the law is applied correctly by the Jury when they make their decision.
When a person pleads guilty or is found guilty at a Contested Hearing or Trial, the matter would be heard as a Plea Hearing. At this hearing the prosecution would read out the charge/s and a summary of the offending. The lawyer for the accused person would then make a ‘plea in mitigation’ in which the personal circumstances of the person charged, the relevant legal principles and the submission on the most appropriate sentence would be made.
The police officer (or an officer from another prosecutorial agency eg Centrelink, ATO, ASIC) who has laid the charges before the court.
A person who has made a statement in relation to a charge and if necessary would be called to give evidence under oath in court. A witness is not always an ‘eye witness’ but is a person who has information relevant to the charges before the court.
A Judicial Officer sitting in the Magistrates’ Court.
A Judicial Officer sitting in the County Court.
A Judicial Officer sitting in the Supreme Court.
An offence that must be heard in either the County or Supreme Courts. In certain circumstances some Indictable Offences can be heard in the Magistrates Court.
The pathway through the Magistrates Court of an indictable offence as it travels towards the County or Supreme Courts.
The application that can be made to keep an Indictable Offence in the Magistrates’ Court.
An offence that can only be heard in the Magistrates Court. It cannot have a penalty of higher than two years imprisonment.

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From our Ballarat office we offer representation in 
all of the following courts:

Ararat, Bacchus Marsh, Ballarat, Bendigo, Castlemaine, Horsham, Kyneton, Maryborough, St Arnaud and Stawell.

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From our Geelong office we offer representation in
all of the following courts:

Colac, Geelong, Hamilton, Portland, Sunshine, Warrnambool and Werribee