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About the prosecution process
In cases of serious crime, police are involved in investigating and gathering evidence. Once an accused person is arrested and the brief of evidence is served the ODPP will take over the prosecution.
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The prosecution process will vary in each case, but commonly involves taking a matter through a committal in the Local Court, followed by a trial and/or sentence proceedings in the District or Supreme Court. Each of these steps is explained further below.

The ODPP is also responsible for dealing with any appeals that are made to contest an offender’s conviction or sentence in a higher Court. 

Steps in the prosecution process

The main steps in the prosecution of a serious crime, from the police investigation and arrest until the end of the legal process.


What happens in the District and Supreme Courts before a criminal trial starts, and the main steps in a trial.


What happens in a sentence hearing, how the courts decide on a sentence, and the sentences available in NSW.


Who can appeal, what can be appealed, appeal deadlines, and what happens in an appeal.

Local Court prosecutions

Not all serious criminal cases are transferred to the District or Supreme Court. Some stay in Local Court, where prosecutions are less complex and usually a lot faster.

Crimes involving mental illness

When there are questions about the accused’s mental health or capacity, the legal steps, verdict and penalties can all be different than in other criminal cases.

When the accused is a young person

How the courts deal with serious crimes when the person charged is under 18 years old.