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Resources to help teachers and students better understand the process of a criminal trial in the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Watch the fictional criminal trial of 18-year old Justin, a student charged with manslaughter, in this video made by the Supreme Court of Victoria. The mock trial shows the role of the judge, prosecution, defence , witnesses and jury, as well as the factors that go into sentencing an offender.

The resources were produced in 2016 as part of a General Grant received from the Victoria Law Foundation. Please note that, since filming, juries legislation and judicial robes have changed.

Message from the Chief Justice

Chief Justice Anne Ferguson explains why the resources were created and provides an insight into the Court's procedures.

Hello my name's Anne Ferguson and I'm the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Open justice is an important part of our democracy. 

As Chief Justice I want people to understand the way that courts work and the role that they play in our open justice system. 

The Supreme Court hears Victoria's most difficult cases and does so in a fair, just and impartial way. 

We know that many people simply can't come to court each day to watch a major trial. 

We made this video to give you a quick look at justice at work through a criminal trial. It's not a real case. 

The characters are fictional and the facts are made up but our video will still show you the types of things that happen in real criminal trials. 

Our video shows you the role of the judge prosecution, defense and witnesses, how trials are run and the factors that a judge takes into account when sentencing someone who's been convicted of a crime.

The right to a fair trial is a fundamental part of our legal system. 

In criminal trials the judge tells the jury what the law is and the jury decides whether the accused is guilty or innocent. 

This video depicts a criminal trial. 

Judges in the Supreme Court also decide and help to resolve other disputes involving companies of people where there's no crime that's committed.

We call these civil disputes. 

If you want to know more about how the law works in practice you can listen to our judges sentencing remarks and read their judgments on our website. 

Sentencing remarks tell you why the judge has decided to impose a particular sentence on a convicted person. 

If you have the time, please come to our court and walk into our courtrooms, they're almost
always open to the public. 

If you visit us, you'll be able to watch a real-life court case. 

In the meantime we hope you enjoy this video.

Resources

Mock trial video: One punch, a lifetime of consequences

On a rowdy night out with the boys, Justin finds himself in a fight at the local pub. Punches are thrown and Joe, one of Justin’s classmates, hits the ground and knocks his head on the concrete. Later that evening Joe is pronounced dead at the hospital.

Watch Justin’s fictitious Supreme Court trial unfold below and see first-hand how criminal trials in Victoria’s highest court are run.

One Punch, a lifetime of consequences video transcript

{Subtitle words: This video has been developed for educational purposes to demonstrate the workings of the Supreme Court of Victoria and the Victorian legal system. The characters and events depicted in this video are fictional and not based on any actual person or event

18 year old Justin Moore went out with friends one Saturday night. It was a night which would change his life, and the lives of many others…forever.}

{Subtitle words: The incident}

{Justin walks backwards out the door of a pub where a group of young people stand outside at night. A security guard ushers him out. Justin is clearly inebriated and is wearing a Sydney Swans scarf.}

Guard: That’s it, no more… you're out!

Justin: Come on mate... we did nothin’.

Guard: Go on, pal. Join your mates.

{Justin walks over to his friends}

Friends: Heeeeeyyyyyyy.

{A man approaches from another group}

Man: Good on you, hero. Got us all kicked out. Just like the Swans… weak as piss!

Justin: Say that again... dickhead!

Man: Weak. As. Piss.

{The man turns his back to Justin and walks away. Justin punches him from behind in the head and the man falls to the ground. Justin's friends grab Justin by the arms to hold him back}

Justin: Get up you maggot!

{A woman kneels next to the unconscious man on the ground. Blood trickles from his head.}

Woman: Oh my god, what have you done?!

Justin: Weak as piss!

Woman: Joe... Joe? Somebody call an ambulance!

{The security guard rushes over and reaches inside his coat for his mobile phone to call an ambulance}

{Subtitle words: The judicial process}

{Introduction from the narrator}

Welcome to the Supreme Court of Victoria. This is where they hear the most serious criminal and complex civil matters in the state, as well as appeals from other Victorian courts and tribunals. Today you will watch the trial of Justin Moore, an 18-year old high school student accused of the manslaughter of fellow classmate, Joe Strathmore.

{Justin is escorted in to the court. The judge enters the courtroom.}

{Subtitle words: the arraignment}

Tipstave: Silence! All stand. All persons having business before this Honourable Court are commanded to give their attendance and they shall be heard. God save the Queen. Be seated please.

{The Associate to the judge stands and addresses Justin}

Will the accused please stand. 

{Justin stands}

Associate to the judge: Is your full name Justin James Moore?

Justin: It is.

Associate to the judge: Justin James Moore you are charged that on the 2nd of April 2016 you killed Joseph Avery Strathmore. How do you plead, guilty or not guilty? 

Justin: Not guilty.

Associate to the judge: Mr Moore, you may be seated.

{Justin sits, his parents look on with worried expressions}

Narrator: Since Justin has pleaded not guilty the Court will now proceed with a trial, which starts with the selection of a jury.

{Subtitle words: Jury empanelment}

{The judge speaks to the group of potential jury panel members}

Ladies and gentlemen, we are now going to select a jury. You must ask to be excused if you know or knew the accused, deceased or any members of their families. You must also be excused if you know any of the witnesses, lawyers or court officers involved in the case. You should also ask to be excused if you feel that you would be severely inconvenienced if required to attend court for the next three weeks or so. But please note, jury service is a very important civic obligation, and I won’t be able to excuse you on this ground unless the inconvenience to you or others would be out of the ordinary. Madam associate, would you call through the panel. 

The associate to the judge: Ladies and gentlemen, summoned as jurors, as your panel number is called, please answer “present” but remain seated. If you wish to be excused, please answer “excuse” and remain in your seats.

Tipstave: Juror 107.
 
Present.

Tipstave: Juror 159. 

Excuse.

Tipstave: Juror 43.
 
Present.

Tipstave: Juror 3. 

Present.

Tipstave: Juror 24. 

Excuse.

Tipstave: What is your panel number?
 
159.

{The jury member stands}

Tipstave: Please repeat after me; I do solemnly, sincerely declare and affirm.

I do solemnly, sincerely declare and affirm.

Tipstave: That the evidence I shall give.

That the evidence I shall give.

Tipstave: Will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

{The judge addresses panel member 159}

Why do you wish to be excused from serving on this jury?

My son is friends with the Joe’s older brother, your Honour. They work together at the local shopping centre.

Very well, you're excused. You may step down.

Narrator: While the judge determines the law to be applied in the case, the jury decides the verdict.

Associate to the judge: Members of the jury panel, as your numbers and occupations are called, please walk past the accused and take a seat in the jury box, unless ‘challenged’ by the accused or ‘stood aside’ by the prosecution.

{The barrister for the defence stands and addresses the judge}

Your Honour may my instructing solicitor assist Mr Moore?

Judge: Yes, go ahead.

{The instructing solicitor walks over to Justin and stands next to him}

{The associate to the judge speaks and reads out the juror numbers and their occupation}

Juror 107, electrician. Juror 43, nurse.
 
{The instructing solicitor speaks to Justin as each juror passes him}

Justin: Challenge!

Associate to the judge: Juror 24, student. Juror 3, banker. Juror 10, high school teacher.

{Barrister for the prosecution stands and addresses the judge}

Stand aside, your Honour!

Associate to the judge: Juror 32, artist.

Narrator: Both the defence and prosecution can challenge or stand aside up to six prospective jurors without reason. 

Associate to the judge: Members of the jury, Justin Moore is charged with manslaughter. To that charge, he has pleaded not guilty. For his trial, he has placed himself in your hands. Your duty, therefore, is to say whether he is guilty or not guilty. Listen carefully to the evidence.

{Subtitle words: The trial}

The Barrister for the prosecution addresses the jury} 
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, this is a case about a young man who could not control his anger, which ultimately led to the death of one of his classmates. The defence may argue that the death was an accident, however, we will show that the accused intentionally punched Joe Strathmore which ultimately caused his death. At the conclusion of the case we would ask you find Justin Moore guilty of manslaughter. Thank you.

{The barrister for the defence addresses the jury}
 
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, this is indeed a case about the death of a young man, however not due to the actions of Justin, but by a simple accident. What the prosecution didn’t say in their opening address is that the deceased was heavily intoxicated at the time of the incident. This impaired his balance and motor functions, which ultimately led him to trip and fall. Justin Moore is not guilty of manslaughter. 

Narrator: Under our legal system, the prosecution has the burden of proof. The accused doesn’t have to prove that they’re innocent. And return a verdict of not guilty.

{A young man stands in the witness box and speaks} 

The evidence I shall give shall be the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 

Barrister for the prosecution: What is your full name?

Matthew Blake Thompson. 

Please explain how you know the accused.

He’s my mate… we’re in the same year at school.

Were you there on the night of the incident? 

Yes. We were watching the footy at the Sherlock Arms. 

Did anyone approach you?

Yeah, when the game finished a couple guys from our school came up to us, starting talking to us about the game. 

What did Justin do?

Justin was angry that his team lost and Joe just kept annoying him about it. Wouldn’t let up, you know? Someone started shouting and a security guard showed up. He told us to knock it off and get out. 

And then what happened?

We all left the pub, but Justin was still really mad. There was more shouting and suddenly
they were pushing and shoving each other. Joe said something and Justin just lost it. He went up to Joe and hit him. Joe fell, hit his head on the ground. It was awful.

Thank you Matthew, no further questions.

{The barrister for the defence stands and addresses the witness}

Mr Thompson, had you been drinking that evening?

Yes… How much had you had to drink?

I don’t know…a few beers? 

How many Mr Thompson?

Seven, maybe eight? 

How far away do you say you were you standing when you say you saw my client hit the deceased? 

Ummm, about four or so metres I guess.

Do you normally wear prescription glasses Mr Thompson?

Sometimes… I don’t wear them all the time. 

Were you wearing your glasses on the night of the incident?

No… but I know what I saw.

No further questions your Honour. 

Judge: Mr Prosecutor?

Barrister for the prosecution: Matthew, when do you normally wear your prescription glasses? 

For driving usually. They’re not very strong.

So you don’t need to wear them all the time?

No, I can see just fine.

Thank you Matthew, no further questions.

Narrator: Once the prosecution has finished, the defence calls in its witnesses. 

Barrister for the defence: What is your full name?

Jamie Offen. 

And what is your occupation?

I’m a security guard and I work at the Sherlock Arms pub.

Mr Offen, were you working at the Sherlock Arms on the night of the incident?

Yes, I was.

Did you see the deceased that evening? 

Yeah, I remember him. He and his mates were really drunk. I saw him fall down on the floor about half an hour before the fight happened. He yelled something out and his mates had to pick him up. 

Thank you Mr Offen. No further questions your Honour.

Judge: Mr Prosecutor?

Narrator: After closing statements have been heard, the judge charges the jury and reminds them that their decision must be unanimous.

{The judge addresses the jury}

You are the judges of the facts, and as such, it is your duty to determine whether the evidence satisfies you beyond reasonable doubt of the guilt of the accused.

{Subtitle words: The verdict}

{The associate to the judge addresses the jury}

Will the accused please stand? Have you reached a verdict?

{Justin stands}

Yes. 

Associate to the judge: Do you find the accused guilty or not guilty of manslaughter? 

{A jury member responds to the associate to the judge} We find the accused guilty.

{Justin scoffs and sits down. Justin’s mother whispers “no’ and brings a tissue to her face}

The associate to the judge: Is this the verdict of you all? 

Yes.

Judge: Thank you members of the jury. You are now free to go. Please take the prisoner into custody. 

{Justin is escorted out of the courtroom.}

Narrator: After a guilty verdict, a plea hearing is conducted. At the hearing, all aspects of the case are placed before the Court. The judge must give due consideration to all relevant matters placed before the Court. When drafting sentencing remarks, the judge takes into account the facts and circumstances of the offence. This includes the maximum penalty that can be ordered for such an offence, as well as any aggravating and mitigating factors. The judge also considers the offender’s age, if they have a past criminal history, if they show remorse or if there’s any surrounding circumstances that may increase or reduce the sentence. The judge may also take into account victim impact statements, as well as submissions from the defence regarding the need for leniency. How long do you think Justin should be imprisoned for?

{The judge references book and papers in her chambers.}

{Subtitle words: The sentence}

{The judge addresses Justin}

Justin James Moore, you have been found guilty by jury verdict of the crime of manslaughter. Alcohol may explain your actions, but it certainly doesn’t excuse your actions, and for that, Mr Moore, you must face the consequences. The Strathmore family have lost someone they love because you, Mr Moore, lost your temper, and acted out in an immature and cowardly way. The Court takes into account the offender’s age, co-operation with the authorities and lack of criminal record as indicators for rehabilitation, however, the lack of remorse shown by you, Mr Moore, is a big cause for concern. There is also a clear need to deter other young men from engaging in this type of violent, unprovoked behaviour and to avoid similar tragedies from happening in the future. Accordingly, for the crime of manslaughter, I sentence you, Justin James Moore, to eight years imprisonment with a non-parole period of five years.

{Justin’s mother weeps and leans into Justin’s father}

I also strongly recommend, Mr Moore, for your benefit and the greater community’s benefit that you complete anger management and alcohol addiction programs while in custody. Remove the prisoner.

{Justin is escorted out of the courtroom.}

Tipstave: All stand. This court is now adjourned.

Narrator: The judge determined that a significant term in prison was the most appropriate punishment for Justin.

 

Companion booklet

This student booklet accompanies the Supreme Court’s mock trial video and complements a school’s visit to the Supreme Court of Victoria. It explains the roles of people who work in the courtroom, the procedures of a trial and provides for discussion of how a trial reaches, and proceeds at, the Supreme Court.

Download the booklet below.

Author
Supreme Court of Victoria
Publisher
Supreme Court of Victoria
Date of publication