Guide

What happens at a criminal court case

Last updated: 29 June 2017

If you're called as a witness

A criminal court case is the legal action at court that decides matters involving crime.

The judge – or jury if there is one – will hear all the evidence and will reach a verdict about whether an accused person is guilty or not. If an accused person is found guilty, the judge, sheriff or magistrate will make a decision about any sentence or punishment.

If you're to give evidence in a criminal court case as a witness, you'll get an official letter – called a 'citation' – by either:

  • the Procurator Fiscal – the lawyer who works for the prosecution

  • a defence lawyer – the lawyer who represents the accused person

Find out about being a witness at court.

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What happens at a criminal court case
If you're called as a witness