After a person has been charged, the case will be handed to a prosecutor.
The prosecutor might be a police officer or a lawyer who works for the Office of the Director of Public Prosections (ODPP). It depends on whether the case is going to the:
- Youth Court
- Magistrates Court
- District or Supreme Court.
What does a prosecutor do?
The prosecutor will look at all the evidence and decide if it is strong enough to prove that the accused is guilty of committing the crime.
A police prosecutor can be a uniformed police officer or a civilian solicitor.
In criminal cases, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused person committed the crime they are charged with.
The prosecutor will also consider:
- your wishes and concerns
- the public interest.
The prosecutor makes the final decision about whether a case is prosecuted.
Is the prosecutor my lawyer?
The prosecutor works on behalf of the state. This means they are not your personal lawyer, but will act in the best interests of the state as a whole.
Your prosecutor will still meet with you throughout the process - especially if you are also a witness and need to give evidence. They will also take your views into account.
You have a right to be kept informed throughout this process, and can ask about case progress by contacting the ODPP or the police prosecutor, depending on who it managing your case.
What to expect in a criminal prosecution
It's important to remember a prosecution can sometimes be a very long process.
It can take months before a case is ready for trial, and the trial itself can span a number of days or weeks.
While every case is different, there are some steps that stay the same. The ODPP website has more information about the usual steps in a criminal prosecution in South Australia.