Criminal Matters

Under The Young Offenders Act 1994, the Children's Court hears criminal matters involving young people (aged 10 to 17 years) who are accused of committing offences.

If a young person turns 18 after the date of the alleged offence, he or she will still appear before the Children's Court.

Visit the Interpreter Services page if you or your child have a hearing impairment or need help understanding English in Court.

Court forms for criminal matters are available from the Forms page.

For Parents and Guardians

As a parent, you have an important role when your child goes to court. You can support your child and give information to the court.

If you are not present and do not provide a good reason, the Court can order your attendance. If you fail to attend court when ordered, the Court may issue a warrant for you to be apprehended.

Your child should have a lawyer when going to Court. If you do not have a lawyer you should arrive at Court early and ask the Voluntary Court Welfare Service to arrange for your child to see the duty lawyer.

Magistrates sometimes will allow parents to give information to the Court which may be taken into account at the time of sentencing.

This usually happens if you tell your lawyer you have something you want to say.

You may want to tell the court how you are dealing with the situation and how your child has behaved since the offence occurred.

You may also want to bring character references from people including teachers, employers or sporting coaches for example, but it will be up to the magistrate whether they will be read.

If your child is required to attend an interview with a Youth Justice Officer to have a report written, you should also attend the interview so you know what is happening.

Your child may be brought to the Children's Court in three ways. He or she may be:

For Young People

You will have to go to the Children's Court if you have be accused of committing an offence whilst under 18.

The President or magistrates at the court listen to evidence and decide if you are guilty or not guilty.

If you are found guilty, the President/magistrate will decide on your sentence.

More information about the President, magistrates and other people in the court can be found in the courtroom layout section.

Going to court

You should have a lawyer when you come to Court. If you do not have a lawyer you should arrive at court early and ask the Voluntary Court Welfare Service to arrange for you to see the duty lawyer.

Take your court papers and any other papers given to you by the police with you to court.

Make sure your mobile phone is switched off as you cannot use it while you are in court.

When you arrive, check with security staff to check your name is on the court list. The security counter is at the entrance of the Courthouse.

Your parents or guardian should come with you as their participation is important. They will sit at the back of the courtroom and may speak to the court via your lawyer.

If you plead not guilty

If you plead not guilty you will have to come back to court on another day for your trial.

At the trial, the facts of the matter will be discussed and the court will make a decision on the case against you.

If you plead guilty or are found guilty

If you plead guilty or are found guilty, the President or magistrate will consider the appropriate punishment or penalty. A decision may not be made the same day.

If a report is requested by the court you will be assigned a Youth Justice Officer (YJO) to prepare the report. Your parent or guardian should attend the interview with you. The report will contain a brief history about you. The YJO will explain the punishment being considered by the Court.

The court may impose one of the following penalties:

The Department of Corrective Services website has more information on types of sentences.

Last updated: 30-Apr-2019

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