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CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

In NSW, criminal offences can be divided into two broad categories.  These are identified as simple offences; and crimes and misdemeanours. Simple offences include disorderly behaviour, traffic offences and minor criminal offences. 

Crimes and misdemeanours are classed as indictable offences, and they include more serious offences, such as murder, rape, robbery, assault and break and enter.

If an individual commits an offence and the police have gathered sufficient evidence, they can then charge that individual with a criminal offence. Under the NSW law, after the charge has been laid, the police must bring the accused person to court as soon as possible.

The state court has three levels, the Local Court, the District Court and the Supreme Court. All criminal matters originally start in the Local Court. The Magistrate must decide whether there is enough evidence against the accused for the case to go to trial. If the Magistrate is satisfied that there is sufficient evidence for a trail to occur, the matter is committed for trial. The seriousness of the case determines whether the case will be heard in the Supreme or District Court'.

This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice . If you are likely to be involved in court proceedings you should get advice from a lawyer.

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