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Possible outcomes of a Magistrate's Complaint

The person who files the Magistrate's Complaint is known as the complainant.

The party against whom the complaint is filed is known as the respondent.

If you are the complainant, you will be given an appointment date to see the magistrate after you have filed your complaint. The magistrate can make any of the following orders:

The magistrate can issue a notice for both you and the respondent to attend criminal mediation. The aim is for both sides to reach an amicable settlement. If the dispute cannot be resolved, the magistrate will give further directions.

The magistrate may postpone the hearing for you and the respondent to resolve the complaint privately. At the next court hearing, you will notify the magistrate of the result of the negotiation. The magistrate may then make a suitable order based on the facts of the case.

If your complaint involves serious allegations or offences, the magistrate may direct the police to inquire into its truth or falsehood. The hearing for your complaint will be postponed until the police have provided their report to the magistrate.

Note: The magistrate cannot order the police to prosecute or issue warnings to the respondent. Such decisions are made by the Attorney-General's Chambers.

There are a few possible scenarios for what could happen after the inquiry:

  • If the police find that there is no offence disclosed, the court may dismiss your complaint. You will be notified by mail, or in person during a hearing if the magistrate thinks that this is necessary.
  • If the police decide to commence formal investigations or criminal prosecution against the respondent, the court may close your complaint. This means your Magistrate's Complaint process will end and the case will be taken over by a prosecuting agency. You will be notified by mail.
  • If the police find that there is an offence, but decline to take up the case, the court will notify you and ask if you intend to proceed with the complaint.

The magistrate may issue a summons to any person who may help the magistrate determine whether there is sufficient reason for the complaint to proceed. The person will need to appear before the magistrate to give evidence about the complaint.

If the magistrate decides that there is insufficient reason for your complaint to proceed to private prosecution, your case will be dismissed. Your case may also be closed in a few other scenarios.

Note
You must attend all of your court hearings and mediation sessions. If you fail to do so, the magistrate may take that into account when deciding if your case should proceed.

If the magistrate decides that there is sufficient reason for your complaint to proceed to private prosecution, the court can issue a private summons for the respondent to attend court.

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Step-by-step guide

2021/07/23

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