PLEADING GUILTY IN THE DISTRICT OR SUPREME COURT
If you enter a plea of guilty and are sentenced in the District or Supreme Court, then a Judge will preside over your sentence hearing and determine what penalty they will impose.
(1) You will be arraigned on the counts on the indictment
You will be seated in the dock, which is in the back of the courtroom. You will need to stand and the Judge’s Associate will read out each count on the indictment one by one. The Associate will ask you how you want to plead (guilty or not guilty) to each count (offence) on the indictment.
(2) The Prosecution will make submissions to the Court
Upon the Judge’s Associate receiving the appropriate reply for each count during the arraignment, the Crown Prosecutor or DPP lawyer will make submissions to the Judge. These submissions will generally include details of the facts for each offence (which may include a schedule of facts), harm caused to any persons involved, loss caused to any persons involved, aggravating features of the matter, the seriousness or low level nature of the offences. The Crown Prosecutor or DPP lawyer may then provide history of previous cases to the Judge, to give the Judge a guide as to what the Crown Prosecutor or DPP lawyer believes is the appropriate penalty.
(3) Your defence barrister/lawyer will make submissions to the Court on your behalf
Once the Crown Prosecutor or DPP lawyer has made submissions to the Judge, it is then time for the defence lawyer/barrister to make submissions on your behalf. These submissions can include background personal information about you, mitigating factors in your favour, circumstances relating to the offence/s and the appropriate penalty to be imposed.
(4) The Judge will pass sentence
Upon the defence lawyer/barrister making submissions, the Judge will ask you to stand and they will pass sentence. The Judge will generally summarise the factual circumstances of your offending and why they are imposing the penalty they impose.
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