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What to expect in court

After a youth is arrested and brought to the Youth Courts, the court will:

  • Explain the offence in simple language.
  • Ask if the youth admits to the offence.

The youth's answer will determine what happens next:

Answer What happens
If youth admits (pleads guilty) The court will decide on the appropriate orders.
If youth does not admit There will be a trial to determine if the youth is guilty.

If the youth claims trial

The court will arrange for a separate trial hearing on another day if the youth does not admit to the offence.

During the trial, the prosecution will present their case first, followed by the youth.

Note
The youth’s parents or guardians can conduct their defence if the youth is not represented by a lawyer.

The youth's lawyer, parent or guardian will have the opportunity to:

  • Present evidence and make a statement to explain the case.
  • Call and examine witnesses.
  • Cross-examine the prosecution's witnesses.

Note: If you are unsure if a witness is willing to turn up, you can make a request in court to summon the witness.

The youth can plead guilty at any time during the trial.

There are 2 possible outcomes from this trial:

Verdict Outcome
If youth is found guilty or pleads guilty The court will decide on the appropriate orders.
If youth is found not guilty The hearing will end and the youth goes free.

Mitigation by the parents or guardians

After a youth offender has pleaded guilty or been found guilty, the youth's parents or guardians can help to mitigate.

This means they can try to persuade the court to give the youth a lighter dispositional order, such as probation. They may highlight the youth’s positive traits, behaviour or character.

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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