The first court date is called the first mention and you will usually need to appear in the local Magistrates Court.

  1. The depositions clerk calls you and then calls ‘all rise’ as the magistrate enters and sits at the bench.
  2. The magistrate stands and reads out the charges against you.
  3. The magistrates asks you how you plead—guilty or not guilty.
  4. Either you or your defence lawyer stands and responds.
  5. For simple offences:
    1. You or your lawyer may ask for an adjournment for more time to consider a plea and set a date.
    2. You may plead guilty and the magistrate listens to submissions or information presented, then decides on a penalty.
    3. You may plead not guilty to a simple offence and the magistrate sets a summary hearing. (The magistrate may set other ‘mentions’ before the summary hearing to confirm each party is prepared.)
  6. For indictable offences:
    1. You may plead guilty to a minor indictable offence and the magistrate either decides the penalty then or sets a date for a sentence hearing.
    2. For other indictable offences, the magistrate sets a committal hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to send the defendant to trial in the Supreme or District Court.