At the end of the court case, the jury (in a jury trial) or the judge (where there isn’t a jury) decides whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty. This is called the verdict.
In some cases, such as when a jury cannot reach a decision, there might be another trial.
Defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty
If the defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty, they may be sentenced on the day or a date will be set for a sentencing hearing (external link) . Once the defendant pleads guilty or has been found guilty, they are called the offender.
If the defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty, you may be given the opportunity to attend a restorative justice conference.
If you or other people affected by the crime have made a victim impact statement, the judge will consider it before sentencing the offender.
Sometimes the judge will order the offender to pay you money, called reparation, if you have suffered emotional harm or had property lost as a result of a crime.
Defendant is found not guilty
If a court finds the defendant not guilty, it means that there was not enough evidence to prove – beyond reasonable doubt - that they committed the crime. It doesn’t mean that the crime didn’t happen, or that you weren’t a victim of the crime.
If the defendant is found not guilty, they are free to go. This can be unexpected and difficult for you and you may want to talk this over with your court victim advisor or support worker.
Defendant not guilty by reason of insanity
Sometimes, the court may find the defendant not guity by reason of insanity. This doesn't happen very often but if it does you can get support to understand what an insanity verdict means. Your court victim advisor or officer in charge can help.