Content for bail pages

If you have been accused of a crime, it means that the police believe that you have committed a crime.

If you have been acquitted, it means a judge, magistrate or jury has decided you are not guilty of committing the crime/s and you are free to go home. You will not be sent to prison.

If your court case is adjourned, it means that it has been postponed and moved to another day. You will need to attend court again on the new date, unless you have a lawyer and they have told you that you don’t have to attend court that day.

Information presented to the courts to prove your case. This might include documents or records which show why you need to change your bail conditions.

This a statement made to the court by a defendant in a criminal proceeding where they admit to the offence with which they have been charged.

These are the rules that are placed upon you if you are given bail following being charged with an offence. A breach of any of the bail conditions can mean that you can be arrested, have your bail cancelled or be given a fine or imprisonment.

Your bail might be enlarged if your court case gets postponed. If your bail is enlarged, it means that it has been extended. You must keep following the conditions of your bail until your new court date.

Being charged means that the police have formally accused you of committing a crime. If you have been charged with a crime, you will have to go to court where a judge or jury will decide if you are guilty or not.

Being ‘taken into custody’ or ‘held in custody’ means that you are locked up or detained by the police or other authorised officers, for example in a prison, a remand centre, or a watch house.

A hearing is a proceeding that is held by a court. Its purpose in a criminal matter is to decide the charges against you. Your hearing is your session in court. When you go to court on the day you’ve been told to, you will be called into a courtroom for your hearing and a judge or magistrate will speak to you about your case. The prosecution and the defence may provide statements and evidence to allow the judge or magistrate to make a decision.

A public official who makes decisions about cases in the District Court and the Supreme Court.

A public official who makes decisions about cases in the Magistrates Court.

If you go to court because you have been accused of committing a crime, the judge or magistrate will ask you how you ‘plead’. This means they are asking you whether you committed the crime or not. You can either choose to plead guilty or not guilty. Before you plead guilty or not guilty, you should get legal advice.

A sentence is a punishment that is given for committing a crime. If a magistrate, judge or jury decides you are guilty then you will be sentenced. This is where a judge or magistrate decides what punishment to give you (for example, time in prison, a fine, or community service).

A “surety” is a person who agrees to pay the court money or provides property if you don’t follow all the rules of your bail (your bail conditions). This allows you to be placed on bail and live in the community. That person can lose that money or property if you fail to follow the rules or conditions of your bail.

When you are given bail, you are given a piece of paper by the court registry or by the police. This form is called a bail undertaking and tells you what date you need to go to court, what time you need to be at court, and the address of the courthouse where you need to attend.