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Closing submissions and verdict

At the end of the trial, you and the prosecution will each get the opportunity to make closing submissions. Closing submissions allow both parties to summarise the evidence presented in court in order to persuade the judge to decide the case in their favour.

The court may either choose to hear oral closing submissions or seek written closing submissions.

If closing submissions are given orally, the prosecution will make their closing submissions first, followed by you. The prosecution will then have the last right of reply to address your closing submission.

If closing submissions are tendered by way of written statements, the prosecution and you will have to file and exchange your closing submissions by a certain date given by the court.

For cases heard in the High Court, you will need to file your written closing submissions via eLitigation.

For cases heard in the State Courts, you can file your written closing submissions either online via the Integrated Case Management System (ICMS) or as a physical hardcopy to the judge.

How to prepare your closing submissions

In your closing submissions, you should focus on:

  • Why you are innocent. Explain to the judge why the evidence you have presented is more credible and your defence should be accepted by the court.
  • Weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. Explains to the judge why the evidence presented by the prosecution is not credible and there is a reasonable doubt in the prosecution's case (and therefore you should not be found guilty of the offence).

If you need time to prepare your closing submissions, you may ask the judge for some time.

If you cannot remember what was said at the trial, you may request a copy of the notes of evidence. The notes of evidence are the word-for-word transcripts of what had been said by the different people in court.

Receiving the verdict

After closing submissions, the judge will decide the case and announce the verdict (decision).

If you are found guilty and convicted, the case will proceed to the mitigation and sentencing stage where the judge will decide how you will be sentenced (punished). If you are dissatisfied with the verdict of conviction, the sentence or both, you may file a criminal appeal within 14 calendar days after the verdict.

If you are acquitted (the charges have not been proved against you), the trial process comes to an end.

Note
The prosecution may file an appeal against your acquittal.

Need help?

The information here is for general guidance as the courts do not provide legal advice. If you need further help, you may want to get independent legal advice.

Find out more

2021/07/23

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