Hi, I’m Marc Saupin. I’m the legal practice director of Criminal Lawyers Perth. Today I want to talk about your first appearance in court. What you’re likely to experience, what you’re likely to see. The assumption is you’ve been charged with a criminal offence, and you’ve been given a date and time to appear. Let’s say it’s the Perth Magistrates Court, and you’re due to appear in court 41. You’ll go through the big doors, and the first thing you’ll go through is security. Once you’ve cleared security, you’ll see a big whiteboard, an electronic board on your left-hand side, and you’ll locate your name and the court you’re in. In this case, we’re saying court 41.
Up the lifts into court 41, into the fourth floor, walk into court 41. The first thing you’ll do is you’ll check in with the orderly, who sits on the left-hand side of the court, and you’ll give them your name, and tell them whether you’re represented by a lawyer or not. If you’re represented by a lawyer, then you will give the lawyers name, and then take a seat at the back of the court. You can take a seat outside, but I often say to clients, “Take a seat up in the back of the court, so you can see what’s going on and observe how things happen.” Your lawyer will eventually get to court and they will walk straight over to the orderly and do the same thing.
And the orderly will say, “Well, Mr. or Mrs. is sitting over there,” and that lawyer will join you. I have a practice of then taking you outside, putting you in a conference room, or an interview room, and having a chat to you. And just confirming what I’ve already said to you on a previous occasion about what’s going to happen. Your name will be called, and your lawyer and yourself will go to the bar table. The magistrate will look at you and say, “Is that your name?” And you’ll say yes, assuming it is. And they’ll look at the lawyer and say, “You appear.” And the lawyer will say, “May please accord. I appear on behalf of Mr, Miss or Mrs. so and so.”
The prosecutor will then stand up and announce his or her name to the court, and then the magistrate will read out the charge. Now, if it’s your first appearance, it’s unlikely that you will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. It’s too early. You’ll be reminded of further legal advice, four to six weeks ahead, and that’ll give you and your lawyer time to sit down and think about the charges and go through the details of what and how you’re going to proceed in the case. So let me just give you some advice. When you’re in court, it’s not a pleasant place. It’s quite a scary place. There are people that go there because they have to be there and they come from all sorts of backgrounds.
It’s very sad. It’s not a pleasant place to be in, but make sure that you’re with your lawyer and that you trust and depend on the experiences and instincts of your lawyer at your first appearance in court. Thank you.