1. Which court did you attend and what was the date of your attendance?
I attended Sydney Downing Centre Local Court in New South Wales on Friday.
2. What kind of hearing did you attend?
(e.g. sentence, summary trial, committal hearing, jury trial, mention, call-over etc)
I attended a sentence hearing for the matter R vs Williamson. His Honour Judge D Frearson SC presided. The defendant had pleaded guilty prior to this hearing on 15th October 2013.
3. What were the charges against the defendant? Were these summary or indictable offences? How did you know this?
Williamson entered a guilty plea to four major charges related to cheating and defrauding Health Services Union (HSU), creating false …show more content…
Bailiff - The Bailiff in an officer of the court who is present to assist the judge in the effective operation of the courts. The Bailiff serves many different functions in a courtroom, including escorting the judge into the courtroom, ensuring the safety, care and security of the jurors, calling on witnesses and administering the prescribed oath to these parties.
However, in the case of this particular sentence hearing, the bailiff role was minimised given that there were no jury or witnesses present. I witnessed the bailiff announce the beginning and end of court sessions.
Prosecutor - Although I did not witness the Prosecutor performing any obvious function during this particular sentence hearing, Findlay et al. (2009) make clear that the prosecutor play a very vital role in ensuring the reduction of any courtroom errors including the clarification of facts, details and circumstances surrounding each offence, the laws relevant to the case and also ensuring that victim impact and offender characteristics are brought to the Judges’ attention to ensure fair justice for both parties.
Defence Counsel - Despite their being no obligation under Australian law requiring a defendant to be legally represented at trail or at the sentencing hearing Findlay et al, (2009) purport that it is the defence