The trial


Who decides the outcome of my case?

Criminal Procedure Act 2011, ss 6, 71-74

Your case may be heard and decided by a judge alone or by a judge and jury, depending on the seriousness of the charge and, in some types of cases, what you (the defendant) choose:

  • For offences where the penalty is less than two years prison (that is, Category 1 and 2 cases), the case is heard by a judge alone in the District Court (if a Category 2 case) or by a judge, Justices of the Peace or a Community Magistrate in the District Court (if Category 1).
  • If the offence carries a prison term of two years or more (Category 3 cases), you have the right to choose a jury trial, which will usually be in the District Court. Otherwise, the case will be heard by a judge alone in the District Court.
  • With the most serious offences, such as murder, torture or terrorist acts (Category 4), the charges will usually be dealt with by a High Court jury trial.

(For the different categories of offences, see “Overview of criminal procedures / Four offence categories” in this chapter.)

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