Definitions of commonly used words

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 delayed 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.

Your bail might be enlarged if your court case gets delayed. If your bail is enlarged, it means that it has been extended and you have to 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 by the police, for example in a prison, a remand centre, or a watch house.

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.

Your hearing is your session in court. When you go to court on the day you’ve been told to, you will be called in for your hearing and a judge will speak to you about your case.

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 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.