A crime is reported to police. Police investigate the crime.

If there is enough evidence after the investigation, the police will arrest and charge the person (or people) they suspect of committing the crime.

A person charged with an offence will usually be called 'the accused' during the court process. Sometimes they are called 'the defendant'.

If the police grant the accused person bail after charging them, they will usually have to come to court for the first time a few weeks later.

If the police do not grant the accused person bail, they will be brought to the court by police for their first court appearance (also called a hearing). This is usually within about 24 hours of being charged.

Sometimes, instead of arresting the accused, the police might ‘report’ them. If this happens, they will usually receive a summons to tell them to come to court at a later date.

Magistrates Court >