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.

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 for your losses called 'restitution'.

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.

This 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.

Defendant not guilty by reason of insanity

Sometimes, the court may find the defendant not guilty by reason of mental impairment.

This doesn't happen very often but if it does, you can get support to understand what this means. The prosecutor or Witness Assistance Officer can help.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions explains this verdict in more detail on their website.