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Frequently Asked Questions about the accused in court
Will the accused be at court when you go?
The accused person will be at court for the hearing or the trial and will be in court to hear all the evidence in the case against him or her. If they are on bail, they will enter and leave the courthouse through the public entrance.
If the accused is in jail waiting for the court case, they will be brought to court on the day and kept in the cells that are in the court complex. When they come into the court, they are brought into the court through a separate entrance with two officers from the Corrective Services NSW.
Will you have to see the accused?
If the accused is on bail, you may see the accused and their friends or family around the court complex.
If you are giving evidence in the courtroom, you will be able to see the accused in court. If you are under 18 or an adult victim in a sexual assault case, you may be able to use a screen in the courtroom. If you are giving your evidence using closed circuit television you should not see the accused while you are giving evidence. Find more information about screens and closed circuit television on our Specific Needs pages.
Do you have to talk to the accused?
In a sexual assault case, you can not be cross-examined directly by the accused if they are unrepresented.
What if the accused says something to you outside of the courtroom?
If the accused says something to you, you should tell the police or the prosecutor.
Where will the accused be when you’re in court?
The accused will be in the court while the case is being heard. The accused is in court for the whole of the court case, including choosing the jury and the legal arguments. The accused usually sits in a seating area called the dock. Sometimes they will be seated behind their lawyer.
What if the accused looks at you and you get upset?
If you get upset, the Judge or the lawyers might ask you if you would like a break or you can ask for a break. It is best not to look at the accused because it might distract or unsettle you. More tips about giving evidence.
What if the accused walks past you while you’re waiting?
There are separate waiting rooms for victims and witnesses in most courthouses. Before coming to court, talk to the police, the prosecutor or your support person about when and where to meet. The police or support person will show you where to wait.
What if the accused is found not guilty?
The Magistrate, Judge or Jury have to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the offence they have been charged with.
If the Magistrate, Judge or Jury are not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt then they must find the accused ‘not guilty’.
If the accused is found not guilty, they are acquitted of the charges and are free to leave the court.
What if the accused tries to follow you after court?
If you have any worries about getting to and from court or about the accused, please talk about these with the police, the prosecutor or your support people.
Will the accused have to give evidence?
New South Wales law says that the accused does not have to give evidence. For more information, see our Information sheet: Some principles underlying the criminal justice system.
What if the accused doesn’t have a lawyer?
Sometimes the accused may not have a lawyer. They are called an ‘unrepresented accused’.
This means that the accused person will be asking you the questions in cross-examination. However, if you are a victim of sexual assault an unrepresented accused cannot ask you questions. In that case another person will ask the accused’s questions for them.
The Magistrate or Judge will make sure the accused person behaves properly in court and does not ask questions that are rude, insulting or irrelevant.