Case Number: B12083527
Acting Prosecutor: Mr Steven Unthank
Accused: GOVERNING BODY OF JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES
The accused failed to appear and was not represented by legal counsel.
Results: Mr Steven Unthank made application to the Magistrate that the case be transferred to the summary stream.
Next Court hearing date: 11 October 2011
Hearing Type: Committal Mention
Types of Court Hearings
We have discussed a bail hearing above. There are other types of hearings in the course of a criminal court case:
The first court hearing in a case where a person is charged with indictable offences which must go to trial in a higher court. It is usually a very short hearing where the prosecution advise when the brief of evidence will be served on the defendant or their lawyer.
The defendant must state whether they will plead guilty or not guilty at this hearing. He or she must also state which witnesses they wish to call at the committal hearing for cross examination, and in broad terms the type of questions the witness will be asked.
Prosecution witnesses are called to tender their statements and are cross examined to test the strength of witness evidence and the prosecution case. If the Magistrate considers that there is sufficient evidence, the case is sent for trial before a Judge and jury after the committal hearing.
After a defendant has decided to plead guilty to a charge or charges, a Judge or Magistrate hears a summary of the offence together with a plea from the defendant’s lawyer. In the plea the lawyer argues why the lightest sentence should be imposed, referring to a person’s positive contribution in the community, hard work, good family background, psychologist’s report etc.
This is a date when a case can only proceed if the defendant pleads guilty. If he or she wishes to challenge any of the charges or allegations, they should transfer the case to a later date (‘adjourn’ the case) for a contest mention.
This is an interim hearing or negotiation hearing. Witnesses do not attend court at this hearing. The police officer who laid the charge (‘informant’), a police prosecutor representing the informant, the defendant and their lawyer need to attend this hearing. If the defendant is prepared to plead guilty to any of the charges, or the police are prepared to withdraw some or all of the charges, the case can be finalized on this date. If the case cannot be resolved into a plea hearing, it is adjourned off for a contested hearing. The witnesses required for that final hearing are discussed, and how long that hearing will take.
This is a final hearing in a Magistrates Court case when all witnesses attend and give their evidence. Those witnesses are cross examined by the defendant or his or her lawyer. At the end of the hearing, the Magistrate decides whether they are satisfied of the defendant’s guilt ‘beyond reasonable doubt’.
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