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QUEENSLAND DISTRICT AND SUPREME COURTS

THE DISTRIC COURT IN QUEENSLAND

The District Court is the next Court above the Magistrates Court in the hierarchy of Courts.

 

The District Court hears:

  • Appeals from the Magistrates Court.
  • Pleas of guilty (sentence hearings).
  • Pre-trial hearings.
  • Trials

 

Who hears matters in the District Court?

The judicial member who sits in Court and hears matters in the District Court is a “Judge”. When addressing a Judge in Court you refer to them as “Your Honour” not Sir/Madam or Your Worship. In Court Judges generally wear a wig and dress in a black robe.

 

Trials in the District Court can be heard before a jury or a judge alone.

 

If your matter proceeds to trial before a jury, then it is the jury who ultimately determines if you are guilty beyond reasonable doubt of having committed the offence/s. The Judge will decide all other issues, including what penalty to impose if you are found guilty.

 

If your trial is heard before a Judge alone, then it is the Judge who will determine all issues including if you are guilty and what penalty to impose if they find you guilty.

 

What types of offences does the District Court hear?

 

The District Court deals with a number of serious offences, including offences such as: –

 

  • Arsons.
  • Frauds where the value involved is greater than $30,000.00.
  • Grievous bodily harm.
  • Robbery.
  • Sexual offences including rape.
  • Torture.

What is the maximum penalty the District Court can impose?

 The maximum penalty the District Court can impose is 20 years imprisonment (this means a Judge in the District Court can not sentence a person to more than 20 years imprisonment for any offence). 

THE SUPREME COURT IN QUEENSLAND 

 

The Supreme Court deals with the most serious of criminal offences in Queensland.

 

The Supreme Court hears such matters as:

Bail applications where persons have been denied bail by the Magistrates Court or are seeking bail for the offence of murder.

  • Pleas of guilty (sentence hearings).
  • Pre-trial hearings.
  • Trials.

 

 

Who hears matters in the Supreme Court?

The judicial officer who sits in Court and hears matters in the Supreme Court is a “Judge”. When addressing a Judge in Court you refer to them as “Your Honour” not Sir/Madam or Your Worship. In Court Judges generally wear a wig and dress in a black robe.

 

Trials in the Supreme Court can be heard before a jury or a judge alone.

 

If your matter proceeds to trial before a jury, then it is the jury who ultimately determines if you are guilty beyond reasonable doubt of having committed the offence/s. The Judge will decide all other issues, including what penalty to impose if you are found guilty.

 

If your trial is heard before a Judge alone, then it is the Judge who will determine all issues including if you are guilty and what penalty to impose if they find you guilty.

 

 

What types of offences does the Supreme Court hear?

 

The Supreme Court deals with the most serious offences, including offences such as: –

 

  • Murder.
  • Manslaughter.
  • Trafficking in Schedule 1 Dangerous Drugs such as cocaine, heroin and methylamphetamine etc.

WHO IS INSIDE THE DISTRICT OR SUPREME COURTROOM?

 

The following image is a drawing of what the inside of a Queensland District or Supreme Court Courtroom looks like.  You will see there are various positions marked with numbers in circles on the drawing. Each of these positions are explained below.

 

1 – This is where the Judge sits.

 

2 – This is where the Judge’s Associate sits. The Judge’s Associate helps the Judge.

 

3 –  This is where the court bailiff sits.

 

4- This is the witness stand where witnesses sit when giving evidence in Court.

 

5 – This is where the Crown Prosecutor stands. Crown Prosecutors dress like barristers in criminal cases i.e. they will be dressed in a black robe and wear a wig.

 

6– This is where a representative of the Director of Public Prosecutions will sit during the court proceedings when they instruct the Crown Prosecutor.

 

7– This is where the defence stand at the bar table. If you have a barrister representing you, they will stand at this position.

 

8 – If you have a barrister representing you, this is the position of your lawyer who is instructing your barrister.

 

9 – This is where the jury sit in court.

 

10– This is the dock and where defendants sit.