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Pleading Guilty to an Offence in the Magistrates’ Court

Cases that are heard in the Magistrates’ Court are described as Summary Crimes. A case in the Magistrates’ Court either begins with a Charge and Summons or you are on Bail. Charge and Summons means that you were given the charges after the date of the alleged incident.

There are limits to what can be heard in the Magistrates’ Court. Many serious allegations like Sexual Offending, serious violence or commercial drug charges commence, but do not conclude in the Magistrates Court. A Magistrate does not have the power to hear the case and sentence you, so it will move on to be heard in a higher Court.

First Mention / Mention / Special Mention

  • When a matter is listed for mention, it may be finalized by way of
    a plea of guilty if liability for all charges is accepted and there is no dispute
    with the circumstances alleged.
  • If there is any dispute the matter will be adjourned for a case
    conference or contest mention so that negotiations can take place
    with the prosecution.
  • Matters can be listed for special mention for the Court to check
    on the progress of the case deal with an issue. The Court sometimes
    list these to see if they can resolve cases.

Case Conference

  • Negotiations take place with police prosecutors and informants
    about the disputed aspects of a matter.
  • This might result in a plea to only some of the charges or amendments to
    the facts alleged as part of the case.
  • Further information or evidence can be requested.
  • This stage could involve a sentence indication.

Contest Mention

  • A contest mention is heard in front of a Magistrate.
  • Negotiations take place with police prosecutors and informants about the
    disputed aspects of a matter.
  • This might result in a plea to only some of the charges or amendments to
    the facts alleged as part of the case.
  • This stage could involve a sentence indication.

Guilty Plea

  • Guilty plea may take place at a mention or following a hearing,
    contest mention or case conference.
  • This is the sentencing stage where your personal circumstances
    and an explanation of the offending and surrounding circumstances
    is put to the Court.

Sentencing

  • Usually you will be sentenced on the same day as the plea hearing.
    Occasionally, this may occur on a subsequent day.
  • The Judge will make sentencing remarks and deliver sentence.

If you have are due to appear in court for either a criminal or driving offence it is important to seek advice from a lawyer who specialises in this area.

Call us on 1300 331 331 or book an appointment to see one of our lawyers.

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