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Pleading Not Guilty to an Offence in the Magistrates’ 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 with the prosecution.
  • Seek further material.
  • Special mentions, subpoenas and other legal issues.
  • For a guilty plea a date will be obtained in the relevant court.
  • For a not guilty plea a date is obtained and leave sought from the Court to cross-examine relevant witnesses.
  • This stage could involve a sentence indication.

Contest Mention

  • A contest mention is heard in front of a Magistrate. This is the difference between a contest mention and a 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.
  • If you are pleading not guilty this stage is necessary to advise the Court what the disputed issues are and which witnesses will be required at the hearing.
  • Further information or evidence can be requested.
  • This stage could involve a sentence indication.

Contested Hearing

  • The stage at which the prosecution must call witnesses to give evidence and prove their case.
  • Prosecution witnesses can be cross-examined by the defence and we can call our own witnesses, including the accused, to give evidence.

Found Not Guilty

  • The case is finished.
  • Costs may be requested depending on the circumstances of the case.

OR
Found Guilty / Sentencing

  • The Judge will make sentencing remarks and deliver sentence.
  • This generally takes place on the same day as the contested hearing.
  • It may be adjourned to get a date.

 

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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