About the Criminal Justice System
There are three parts to the criminal justice system in NSW:
- Courts and alternatives to prison
- Prisons and community offender management (parole )
Police powers include the following:
- Stop, search and detain people
- Enter and search premises and seize property
- Arrest, detain and question suspects
- Following arrest, lay charges within a four-hour period (but can request an eight-hour extension)
- Charge suspects; when charged, a person can be released on bail or refused bail (if refused, the person will have to appear in court).
There is a hierarchy of courts - Local Court, District Court and Supreme Court (all state government ) and High Court (federal government), as well as several specialist courts (e.g. Federal Court, Family Court).
Courts deal with a range of offences:
- Summary offences (minor - usually heard in Local Court)
- Indictable offences ( require a trial by jury and are heard in the District Court or Supreme Court, though details may be finalised in a lower court), and
- Strictly indictable offences (more serious crimes at the District Court or Supreme Court level or higher).