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Empanelling the jury

Most criminal trials proceed before a judge and jury. It is possible to be tried before a judge alone. Where you have not elected to be tried before a judge alone, the trial is to be by a judge and 12 jurors. Jurors may apply to the judge to be excused. Your solicitor and the crown may each challenge 3 jurors. Where a juror is challenged the juror will not sit on the jury panel. The reasons that a particular person may be challenged by your solicitor and the crown are wide and varied.

The Crown opening

The Crown opens the case by giving an outline of the charges and the evidence the prosecutor intends to call.

The Defence opening

Your legal representative may make an opening address to the jury about matters that they think are appropriate. Sometimes they will address the jury that they should wait until they hear all the evidence before making their mind up about an issue.

The Test

The Crown must prove that you are guilty of the offence charged beyond a reasonable doubt. If the Jury has a reasonable doubt then they must dismiss the charge.

The Crown Case

The Crown Prosecutor who represents the Police will call witnesses to try and prove that you committed the crime. Your legal representative may object to questions asked by the Crown Prosecutor in certain circumstances.

After the Crown Prosecutor has finished asking the witness questions your legal representative may cross examine the witness. The purpose of cross examination is to confirm the points that support your case and to cast doubt on the witness‘ evidence about matters that incriminate you.

After your legal representative has finished cross examining the witness the Crown Prosecutor will be able to clarify any answers in re examination. After all witnesses have given evidence the Crown Prosecutor will close the Crown case.

Prima Facie Case

Before you are required to answer the Crown case, the Judge has to decide whether taking the Crown case at its highest you could be lawfully convicted of the offence. Your legal representative is able to make submissions to the Judge as to why you could not be lawfully convicted.

The Defence Case

If you intend to give evidence, then you normally give evidence first. Your legal representative will ask you a series of questions so that you give all relevant evidence. Try to relax and give evidence as you remember the events. Remember, rehearsed evidence often sounds artificial, so try and be natural.


After all witnesses you intend to call have given evidence, your legal representative will make submissions after the Crown Prosecutor upon the evidence given.

The Jury will make their decision on the evidence given. The jury will make their decision in the jury room away from you and the crown. It may take days or weeks for the jury to decide whether you are guilty or not guilty. If you are found not guilty you may be able to claim your legal costs in some limited cases. If you are found guilty then you will be sentenced.

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