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What is a trial

A trial is a process by which a judge will assess the evidence and decide whether you are guilty of an offence.

During the trial, the prosecution will produce evidence against you. You can also produce evidence in your defence.

At the end of the trial, the judge will decide whether to convict or acquit you on the charges. If you are convicted, the judge will proceed to sentence you. If you are acquitted, there will be no punishment.

If you claim trial

If you intend to plead not guilty at Mentions Court, this means you are claiming trial.

Claiming trial means you dispute the charges and would like a court hearing to defend yourself. You will be asked if you wish to engage a lawyer, if you are not represented.

If you wish to engage a lawyer, you will be given time to do so. Once the case is ready for trial, the court will schedule the case for trial.

You may apply to change your trial dates via the Integrated Case Management System (ICMS) (for State Courts cases) or by sending an email to Supreme Court cases) if you have valid reasons for being unable to attend court on the scheduled dates.

Criminal trial step-by-step

Understand what is involved in the criminal trial process.

Before your case is fixed for trial

Preparing your case for trial

The judge may schedule a pre-trial conference (PTC) to prepare both sides for the trial. In specific types of cases, a criminal case disclosure conference (CCDC) may be scheduled, in which both you and the prosecution will state your positions and outline your evidence.

After your case is fixed for trial

Attend your trial

Once the case is ready for trial, the matter will be fixed for hearing. You will be informed of the date, time and place of hearing.


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


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