​ሕግንና ደንብን በተመለከተ እርዳታ ማግኘት ይፈልጋሉን? - Amharic | هل تحتاج لمساعدة قانونية؟ - Arabic | ܤܢܝܼܩܵܐ ܝ݇ܘ̤ܬ ܠܗܲܝܵܪܬܵܐ ܩܵܢܘܿܢܵܝܬܵܐ؟ - Assyrian | Need Legal Help? - Auslan | Treba li vam pravna pomoc? - Bosnian | Burmese â Need Legal Help? | 需要法律帮助吗? - Chinese Simplified | 需要法律幫助嗎? - Chinese Traditional | Trebate li pravnu pomoć? - Croatian | ضرورت به کمک قانونی دارید؟ - Dari | Wïc Kuɔɔny në Wɛ̈t Löŋ? - Dinka | آیا به کمک حقوقی نیاز دارید؟ - Farsi | Gadreva na Veivuke Vakalawa? - Fijian | Kailangan ninyo ba ng tulong na panglegal? - Filipino | Besoin d’aide juridique ? - French | Χρειάζεστε βοήθεια σε νομικά ζητήματα - Greek | क्या आपको कानूनी सलाह चाहिए? - Hindi | Butuhkan Bantuan dalam Masalah Hukum? - Indonesian | Hai bisogno di assistenza legale? - Italian | ត្រូវការជំនួយលើបញ្ហាផ្លូវច្បាប់ឬទេ? - Khmer | 법적인 도움이 필요하십니까? - Korean | Ви треба ли помош со правни работи? - Macedonian | कानूनी सहयोग चाहिएको छ? - Nepalese | Necessita de ajuda com questões jurídicas? - Portuguese | Вам нужна юридическая помощь? - Russian | E Manaomia Fesoasoani i Mea Tau Tulafono? - Samoan | а ли вам треба помоћ у правним питањима? - Serbian | Ma u baahan tahay Caawimmad xagga sharciga ah?- Somali | ¿Necesita ayuda con cuestiones jurídicas? - Spanish | சட்ட உதவி தேவையா? - Tamil | ท่านต้องการความช่วยเหลือทางด้านกฎหมายไหม? - Thai | Fiema’u ha tokoni Fakalao? - Tongan | Yasal Danışmaya İhtiyacınız mı var? - Turkish | Cần Được Giúp Đỡ Về Luật Pháp? - Vietnamese |

Arguing your case

When the hearing starts, the following will usually happen:


    ​​When all the evidence has been given, the magistrate will make a decision.

    The prosecutor presents their evidence

    Depending on the type of matter, the prosecutor may be a police prosecutor, a council or RSPCA officer, a Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) prosecutor, or a private solicitor hired by the organisation that gave you the fine.

    The prosecutor will call his or her first witness to give evidence. If the witness is a police officer, they may be allowed to read a statement they prepared if the statement was made soon after the alleged incident happened.

    You can watch a video below showing the prosecution presenting their evidence. 

     

    You can also read a transcript of this video Word icon(31 kb).

    This video is available with the audio description​.

    After the witness has given their evidence, you can ask them questions. This is called 'cross-examination'.

    When asking the witness questions, you should:

    • put your version of what happened to the witness to give them a chance to respond
    • ask them questions that show that their evidence is not the truth or does not make sense
    • use direct questions that require a 'yes' or 'no' answer.

    Here are some ways you can ask questions:

    • "I put it to you that I was not driving negligently"
    • "I suggest to you I did stop at the stop sign, what do you say?"
    • "You said I was doing 120km/h in a 100km/h zone. I say I was doing 95km/h. What do you say?"

    Make sure that you only ask one question at a time, for example:

    • "Can you tell me what hand I was holding my phone with?" (wait for a response)
    • "And what ear do you say I was holding the phone to?"

    It is important that you don't interrupt the witness when they are responding to your cross-examination questions. If they are not answering your questions you can ask the magistrate to direct them to do so. You can also make some notes of anything you want to comment on or clarify, and put it to them when they finish answering.

    You should not speak rudely or abusively to or about the prosecutor's witnesses. Stick to the facts and the evidence and be calm and polite.

    You can watch a video below showing how to cross-examine a witness. 

     

    You can also read a transcript of this video Word icon(36 kb).

    ​​This video is available with the audio description​.

    You present your evidence

    After the prosecutor has presented their evidence, the magistrate will need to decide whether there is a case against you. This is sometimes referred to as 'a case to answer'.

    If the magistrate believes that the prosecution does not have sufficient evidence, that will be the end of the matter. If the magistrate believes there is a case for you to answer, you will be given a chance to give your evidence.

    You need to decide whether you want to give evidence or not. The court cannot force you to give evidence because it is the prosecution that has the 'burden of proof'. They must prove that you committed the alleged offence 'beyond reasonable doubt'. However, if there are no other witnesses, the only way to defend the case may be to give your version of events.

    If you decide to give evidence, you will have to stand next to the witness box and make an 'oath' or 'affirmation'. Both are promises to tell the truth. An oath has a religious meaning and an affirmation does not. The court officer will read the oath or affirmation and you should respond 'I do'.

    If you are representing yourself, the magistrate may ask you questions. You can then tell the court your version of what has happened, and why you believe you are not guilty. The magistrate may ask you to explain some things in more detail. The magistrate may also ask you to move on to another point if they feel they have heard enough about an issue or that what you are saying is not relevant to your case.

    After you have given your evidence, the prosecutor will cross-examine you. You should:

    • listen carefully and think about each question before you answer
    • ask that the question be repeated if you don't understand
    • admit if you don't know the answer to a question
    • speak loudly, clearly and slowly
    • give exact details, for example if a conversation took place tell the court the exact words that were used
    • try not to get angry, even if the prosecutor seems to be rude or aggressive.

    You can watch a video below about giving evidence.


    You can also read a transcript of this video Word icon(40 kb).

    ​​This video is available with the audio description​.

    Your witnesses give their evidence

    If you have any witnesses, you must make sure they come to the hearing to give their evidence. In some cases you might need to arrange for a subpoena to be issued to them.

    For more information, see Preparing for the hearing - Step by step guide.

    At court, the witnesses will have to wait outside the courtroom until it is their turn to give evidence. A court officer will then bring each witness into the courtroom, take them to the witness box and they will take an oath or affirmation.

    You can then start to ask your witness questions. This is called 'examination in chief'. You should:

    • first ask the witness to tell the court their name, address and occupation
    • ask them to tell the court what happened on the date in question, for example "Can you tell the court what happened on 12 April 2011"
    • ask them questions to clarify issues or to confirm their evidence, for example: "You said you know I wasn't speeding, how can you be sure?" and "What speed was I going at?"

    Your questions should allow the witness to give their evidence in their own words. The prosecutor may object if you try to lead the witness to give a certain answer.

    Once you have finished asking your witness questions, the prosecutor will have a chance to cross-examine them. After the cross-examination, you will have a chance to ask your witness any further questions. This is called 're-examination'. You should only re-examine your witness if you want to clear up issues raised in cross-examination.

    You can watch a video below showing you how to question your witnesses. 


    You can also read a transcript of this video Word icon(43 kb).

    ​This video is available with the audio description​.

    You both sum up your case

    After the prosecutor has presented their case and you and your witnesses have given evidence, you and the prosecutor may be given a chance to summarise your evidence and arguments.

    The prosecutor will go first, then it will be your turn. If there are gaps, mistakes or things that don't make sense in the prosecutor's case you can raise these. You can also summarise the evidence of your witnesses and explain to the magistrate why you think they should accept your version of events.

    You can watch a video below showing you how to make submissions at the end of your case. 


    You can also read a transcript of this video Word icon(37 kb).​

    ​This video is available with the audio description​.