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Scanned Image of Page 1 - Charge and Summons.


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GOING TO THE MAGISTRATE'S COURT

WHAT TO DO NOW

As soon as you get this notice you should get legal advice. It is important for you to get this advice well before you are due to go to Court.

If you do not see a lawyer before your Court hearing, your case might not be heard until another day.

IF YOU WANT TO SAY YOU ARE NOT GUILTY

If you are pleading not guilty you must let the Court know. Ring the Court at least three days before your Court date and ask for the Court Co-ordinator. Your case will not be heard on the date written in your bail notice, however if you are on bail you must come to Court to apply to have your bail extended.

You will be told the new date and at what Court your case will be heard.

IF YOU WANT TO SAY YOU ARE GUILTY

If you are pleading guilty your case will be heard on the date written in your bail notice, unless you make arrangements with the Court Co-ordinator for it to be heard on another day.

WHERE CAN YOU APPLY FOR LEGAL AID?

You can apply for legal aid through most lawyers, the Legal Aid Commission, many Community Legal Centres and the Aboriginal Legal Service Co-op.

Duty Lawyers
Not every Court has a duty lawyer for you to speak to on the day of your case. In some Courts where a duty lawyer is present, he or she may be too busy to take your case. For this reason it is wise to find other ways of getting legal help before the day of your Court case.

IF YOU NEED AN INTERPRETER

An interpreter will be at the Court for you if: If you need to have an interpreter, ask someone to contact the Court Co-ordinator at least five days before the day of your court case.

NOTE THE TIME YOU SHOULD BE AT COURT


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IF YOU HAVE BEEN ARRESTED OR CHARGED

Before your case is heard, you have to decide whether you will plead not guilty or guilty. You can get advice from:
  • A lawyer - look under solicitors in the Yellow Pages
  • Law Institute - legal advice and referral service (Phone: (03) 602 5000)
  • The Legal Aid Commission -
    Dandenong (03) 9791 5522
    Melbourne (03) 9607 0234
    Frankston (03) 9783 6855
    Morwell (051) 34 8055
    Geelong (052) 9 2211
    Preston (03) 9478 8844
    Glenroy (03) 9306 0122
    Sunshine (03) 9311 8611
  • Your local Community Legal Centre - look under Local Government in the white pages
  • Aboriginal Legal Service Co-op ((03) 9419 3888)
  • The Court Registrar named in your summons.

    Traffic Charges - The Legal Aid Commission conducts workshops to help people who want to plead guilty to traffic charges and to help them handle their own cases in Court. Contact the nearest office of the Legal Aid Commission. It is important for you to get this advice as soon as you can and well before you are due to go to Court.

    WHAT IS A SUMMARY OR AN INDICTABLE OFFENCE?
    Your charge-sheet will tell you whether you have been charged with a 'summary offence' an 'indictable offence' or, a mixture of these offences.

    Summary Offences.
    These offences are only heard in the Magistrates' Court. It is important for you to come to Court so that the Magistrate can hear what you have to say. If you are on bail you must come to Court on the day of your case.

    Indictable Offences.
    These offences are more serious than summary offences. You must go to Court on the day of your Court case. If you cannot go to Court on the day written in your bail notice you must contact the Court Co-ordinator to see what you must do.
    Many indictable offences can be heard by a Magistrate or a Judge and Jury. You may have to decide whether you want your case heard by a Magistrate in the Magistrates' Court or by a Judge and Jury in the County Court. Talk to your lawyer to see if you have to make this decision. If you decide to have your case heard in the County Court you will be given a new date for your Court hearing.

    GOING TO COURT
    Contact the Co-ordinator at the Court named in your Charge-sheet if you have any questions about where you have to go. You should be at the Court at least half an hour before the time written in your Charge-sheet. Go to the counter and let the Court Clerk know that you have arrived.

    NOTE:

  • Each Magistrates' Court has a Court Co-ordinator who organises the time and date for cases to be heard. If you have any problems it is important for you to contact this person.
  • If you are bringing character witnesses, please contact the Court Co-ordinator three days before the day of your Court Case.
  • If you cannot come to Court because you have a good reason or because you cannot get transport, contact the Court Co-ordinator before the day of your Court case. You may be able to have your case moved to a different date and possibly to another Court.

    You have two choices when you go to Court:
    1. You can plead not guilty
    2. You can plead guilty
    Remember: You do not have to plead guilty, the choice is yours.

    IF YOU WANT TO PLEAD NOT GUILTY
    You must let the Court Co-ordinator know that you will be pleading not guilty and how many witnesses you will be bringing. You should either telephone or see the Court Co-ordinator in person at least three days before the day of your Court case.

  • Your case will not be heard on the day written in your bail notice. You will be told of a new date and at what Court your case will be heard.
  • You should talk to a lawyer if you want to plead not guilty.
  • You will not be disadvantaged if you plead not guilty.
  • Contact the Court Co-ordinator immediately if you decide to change your plea to guilty.
  • If you are on bail tell the Court Co-ordinator so that he or she can tell you how to apply for an extension of your bail to your new Court date.

    IF YOU WANT TO PLEAD GUILTY
    If you go to Court on the day written in your bail notice your case will be heard on that day. The Magistrate may find that you were guilty and order that a conviction be recorded against you. This may become a permanent record. You might find it difficult to get a job or go overseas if you have a conviction.

    WHAT HAPPENS IN THE COURTROOM?
    When your name is called go into the courtroom. You will be told where to stand. The people already in the courtroom are the Magistrate, a Court Registrar, the Prosecutor and members of the public. The person who brought this charge against you (the Informant) may not be in the courtroom. The Prosecutor will take his or her place. The charge will be read out by the Registrar. If you don't understand a charge you should ask the Magistrate to explain it to you. You should call the Magistrate either "Your Worship" or "Sir" or "Madam". If you have been charged with an indictable offence the Magistrate will ask if you want your case heard in the Magistrates' Court. The Magistrate will ask if you plead not guilty or guilty. If you say you are guilty the Prosecutor or the person who charged you, will give the Magistrate a summary of the evidence against you (the Defendant). If you agree with the summary the Magistrate will then listen to what you or your lawyer has to say on your behalf. The magistrate will then decide how to deal with you.
    If you say you are not guilty to any of these charges, your case will be put off to another date and possibly another Court. You will be told of the new date and place for your case.

    IF YOU WANT TO APPEAL AGAINST THE MAGISTRATE'S DECISION
    An appeal can be made at the end of your Court case or up to 30 days from the date of your hearing. the appeal will be heard in the County Court by a Judge at a later date. You will be told of this date.

    IF YOU DO NOT GO TO COURT
    WARNING: If you are on hail and you do not go to Court on the day of your Court case you may be arrested. If you have been charged with an indictable offence You must go to Court on the day of your case. If you are not at Court, or you have not contacted the Court Co-ordinator you may be arrested.
    If you have been charged with a summary offence It is important for you to be at Court when your case is heard. If you are not at Court, or have not contacted the Court Co-ordinator, your case may he put off to another date and place. If you are on bail and you do not come to Court you may be arrested.

    HOW TO GET TO COURT
    If you need to come to Court by public transport, ring the Transport Information Centre on:
    For the Metropolitan area - (03) 9617 0900
    Monday-Saturday 7.30am to 8.30pm
    Sunday 9.15am to 8.30pm
    For Country areas - (03) 62 3115
    Monday-Saturday 8.00am to 8.00pm
    Sunday 10.00am to 6.00pm
    They can tell you what to do and where to catch a train, tram or bus in the metropolitan or country areas.


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    IMPORTANT: DO NOT IGNORE THIS DOCUMENT

    If you do not understand it, you should immediately have it interpreted and explained to you. You may then get advice from:

    [The rest of this page only has translations of the above two paragraphs in: Arabic, Chinese, Greek, Macedonian, Serbian, Turkish, Cambodian, Croatian, Italian, Polish, Spanish, and Vietnamese.]