A magistrate in the Children’s An independent body that hears legal claims brought by parties and decides between them. Serious cases are heard by a judge and jury, or just a judge. Less-serious cases are heard by a magistrate. may To postpone a court case, to move the hearing to another time or another day. Also referred to as ‘standing over’, as in ‘standing the matter over’ or ‘standing down’. If a case is adjourned indefinitely it can only be brought back if one of the parties applies to the court. This was formerly called adjournment sine die. a case (i.e. put off the case to be heard another day) for a number of reasons. These include:
• the magistrate wants a A report the court considers before sentencing a young person. It is usually prepared by the Department of Human Services (Victoria).;
• the magistrate defers sentencing;
• the magistrate wants the young person to attend group conferencing.
Before deciding what sentence is appropriate, the magistrate may adjourn the case and ask for a report. This may be prepared by the Victorian Government Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) Youth Justice Formal delivery of legal documents to a person to tell them there are court proceedings against them which they must defend, or to make sure a witness in a case knows when they have to go to court to give evidence. (s 571 CYF A written law made by parliament. Also called an ‘Act of parliament’, ‘statute’ or legislation.) or the Children’s Court Clinic.
Reports prepared by Youth Justice are usually completed in three to six weeks. Reports prepared by the Children’s Court Clinic usually take longer. While the reports are being written, the young person may be allowed to go home, although some The procedure that allows a person who has been charged with an offence to be released from police control or prison until the hearing of the case. Courts can add conditions to bail. For example, they can require that people released on bail promise to come to the court on a set date, or put up an amount of money that they cannot get back if they do not appear as they promised. See also undertaking. conditions may be set. A young person who is to stay in Lawful control over a person which prevents them leaving. A person under arrest is in police custody and is not free to go. A person in prison is serving a custodial sentence that keeps them confined to the prison grounds. A document that sets out what a person wants to happen to their money and other property after they die. be taken to a remand centre.
Deferral of sentencing
If the court considers that it is in the child’s best interests to defer sentencing, it may do so for a period of up to four months. The case is adjourned to a fixed date. The magistrate may request that a pre-sentence report be prepared.
The period of deferral is usually ordered to allow the young person to engage with Youth Justice and to take steps to address the issues that led to their offending behaviour. The court may also defer sentencing to allow the young person to participate in a group conference. The court will sentence the young person at the end of the deferral period, taking into account any progress the young person may have made during that time.
What is group conferencing?
The Group Conferencing Program operates as a pre-sentence option. Group conferencing aims to help the young person avoid further or more serious offending. The group conferencing process attempts to strengthen the young person’s family and community supports and identifies ways of making amends for the harm caused by the offending behaviour. Group conferencing also gives the victim the opportunity to explain the affect the crime has had on them.
Who is group conferencing for?
Group conferencing is for young people referred by the Children’s Court.
The young person must have:
- pleaded guilty or have been found guilty of offences that do not include sex offences;
- committed offences serious enough to A document issued by a court directing an officer to take certain action. May be a warrant of apprehension, directing that a person be arrested and brought before a court; a warrant of commitment, directing that a person be arrested and imprisoned; a warrant of distress, directing that a person’s goods be seized to satisfy a debt; or a warrant of seizure and sale of real estate. a A non-custodial sentence that is served in the community and which does not involve a prison term. It requires good behaviour and supervision by a probation officer for a specified period. See also intensive correction order (ICO). order, or a youth An order the Children’s Court may impose upon a young person found guilty of an offence. Under this order, the young person will be supervised by a probation officer and will have to obey any other conditions the court imposes upon them. These conditions can be placed on the young person’s parents or persons with whom the young person is living. Also, a supervision order requires a person arguing substantial mental impairment in a serious criminal case to be admitted to a mental institution., or a youth attendance order, or a period of detention to be considered by the court;
- consented to participate;
- been assessed as suitable by a youth justice officer of the DFFH.
Who attends a group conference?
A group conference is attended by:
- the young person;
- their family and/or supports;
- the young person’s legal representative;
- the victim and/or their representative;
- the victim’s family and/or supports;
- the police officer who laid the charge(s);
- community members; and
- the convenor.
What happens at a group conference?
At the conference the participants discuss what happened and agree on an outcome plan, which details what needs to be done to make amends for the harm caused by the A criminal act prohibited by state or commonwealth criminal law. An offence is either a summary offence (minor) or an indictable offence (serious).. The convenor then writes a report that explains what happened in the conference, and this is presented to the Children’s Court.
What are the possible outcomes of a group conference?
Recommendations from the conference could be:
- assistance and support for the young person in such areas as education, skill development, employment and counselling;
- ways of dealing with the offence – this could mean that the young person apologises, pays for all or part of damage caused, or makes a donation.
When deciding on an appropriate sentence, the court will take into account the contents of the group conference outcome plan.