People in Court
There are many people involved in a court case.
- Victim - has suffered mental or physical harm or economic loss as a result of a crime.
- Witness(s) - testifies in court because they have some information about the case. The victim may also be a witness.
- Accused - is accused of committing a crime. If the accused is found guilty of committing a crime they are referred to as an offender.
- Judge - official in charge of the court proceedings. The judge will review all evidence and determine whether the accused person is guilty or not guilty of committing a crime. The judge will also sentence the accused if they are found guilty.
- Jury - a group of citizens selected to review all evidence and decide whether a person accused of committing a crime is guilty or not guilty. Most criminal cases do not have juries and are decided by judge alone. The jurors’ job is to form an opinion based on facts presented at trial and explanations about the law given by the judge. The jury’s decision is called the verdict and must be unanimous.
- Crown counsel - acts on behalf of all members of the public. They are also known as prosecutors. It is their job to present the Crown’s case against the accused. They do not represent the victim, but represent the public and society.
- Defence counsel - is the lawyer(s) representing and defending the accused person.
- Deputy Sheriff(s) - is responsible for courtroom security and the safety of everyone in the courtroom. If the accused or offender is being held in jail, the deputy sheriff brings them from the jail to the courtroom.
- Court Clerk – supports the judge. The court clerk’s responsibilities include recording court proceedings, marking and recording the list of exhibits and swearing in witnesses.
- Court Interpreter - translates the proceedings into another language for a victim, witness or accused who does not speak or understand English.
- Victim Service Worker - attends court with the victim to support them.
- Court Support Workers - may attend court to support a victim, witness or accused. For example, the Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of British Columbia provides support to Aboriginal accused.