Court proceeding

The length of the criminal process and trial can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the case, the availability of evidence, witnesses and the court's workload. Several factors affect the processing speed, such as whether it is a homicide and the available evidence. The differences in the duration of the processes also vary by locality.

Parties to litigation

Each case is unique; unexpected events or procedures may cause delays. In criminal cases, the parties to the trial are the victim (the plaintiff), the accused (the defendant) and the prosecutor. The interested party is involved in the proceedings if he has claims against the defendant, i.e. the accused. The prosecutor reads the charges brought against the accused. If necessary, the court can also hear witnesses and accept written evidence.

For more: Who participates in the process

Proceedings before trial

The prosecutor investigates the case, considers charges, and decides whether to file charges. If the prosecutor decides to press charges and summon the suspect of a crime to answer for his act in court, he submits a summons application to the district court. After that, the district court delivers the summonses and the trial date and place to the parties in the criminal case.

In most cases, the person accused of a crime must attend the trial under the threat of a fine. The victims of the crime are also often called under the threat of a fine because they are wanted to be interviewed for the purpose of providing evidence. In the same context, you are usually asked to inform that you have received a subpoena/invitation. In addition, the victim is asked to submit his claim for damages to the district court in writing with details and justifications.

A criminal trial is usually open to the public unless the court decides to deal with it behind closed doors, which means that outsiders cannot watch the proceedings in the courtroom.

For more: What happens in court

Police: Legal proceeding

Main processing

Most criminal hearings last a few hours, but large or complex cases can take several days. The main hearing is conducted orally. At the beginning of the main hearing, the prosecutor explains the crime they are accusing, what evidence they will present, and what other demands they will make.

Next, the plaintiff or their trial assistant takes a stand. Do they agree with the prosecutor's demand for punishment, or do they demand an alternative punishment. In addition, they tell about the plaintiff's claims for damages, which will be substantiated in more detail as the trial progresses. After this, the defendant is given an opportunity to answer. They can either grant or deny the prosecutor's claims. The defendant also specifies whether they agree to pay the amount of compensation demanded by the injured party or what amount of compensation they consider justified.

After this, the prosecutor and the plaintiff explain their positions more. The prosecutor explains the events and the reasons for bringing the charges, while the plaintiff justifies their claim for compensation in more detail. After this, the defendant presents their views on the views of the prosecutor and the plaintiff.

After this step, the proofs are presented. First, the written evidence will be reviewed, followed by the statements of the plaintiff, the defendant, and the witnesses. Often, the plaintiff is asked to tell the truth about what happened in their own words. All reports are recorded. It is important to note that the court can only take into account such matters that are brought up in the main oral hearing.

In the closing statements, the parties express their views on whether the charge has been proven and how they think the case should be resolved.

The verdict

The district court gives its verdict orally after the hearing or later on a date separately announced in writing. In the latter case, the judgment is available at the court registry or can be sent to the parties upon request.

In cases where the accused fails to appear at the main hearing despite being summoned, the hearing may be conducted without them, and witnesses may still be heard. Usually, the trial is postponed to another time. If the defendant has an assistant, the hearing may, in some cases, also be handled outside of the trial. In this case, the trial cannot be completed completely, and the case remains pending, in which case the main trial often has to be postponed again.

A defendant who does not appear may be fined and brought to the next hearing, accompanied by the police if necessary. The district court informs the defendant in the summons whether his presence is required. If the party involved disagrees with the district court's verdict, he has the right to appeal to the Court of Appeal. The district court issues written appeal instructions in connection with each judgment.

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