In Poland, there is a Criminal Law dated 6th June 1997 in force at the moment. It is a collection of regulations on the principles of criminal responsibility. It defines i.a. a crime, principle of responsibility for a crime, principles of degrees of penalties, principles of presenting criminal responsibility and also sets a penalty catalogue and other penalizing measures.


A crime is a deed that is recognized as socially harmful, specifically defined (for example, battery or theft) and is subject to a penalty, pursuant to criminal law regulations.
Crimes are divided into felonies and offences.

A felony is a crime subject to a prison sentence not shorter than 3 years or to a stricter penalty.

An offence is a crime subject to a fine exceeding 30 daily rates, prison sentence or prison sentence exceeding one month.

Other less serious forbidden deeds constitute petty offences, which are not crimes and are mostly regulated by Petty Offences Code.   


A victim of a crime is a person whose legal interest was directly infringed or threatened as a result of a crime.

First of all, to be considered a victim, your individual interest protected by law must be infringed, for example, health, physical integrity, property, honour, good name, sexual freedom.

Yet you must remember that it is not necessary for your interest to be infringed by the violator.

It is enough if by their behaviour they brought a threat upon you – it is sufficient reason to consider you as a victim.


If you have become a victim of a crime, it is very important to report it to the appropriate organs. If you do this, it is more likely that the violator will be caught, held responsible, and will not have the chance to hurt you or anyone else anymore. The Police are obliged to record every report of a crime they are notified of as it is their professional duty for results from this. If you need to speak to someone before you decide to report a crime, workers of Aid Centres for Crime Victims and other specialist centres can help with advice and information, which will allow you to feel more confident while reporting a crime.

Some people hesitate over whether to report a crime or not. They think:

“It didn't matter”
Even the smallest crime may cause shock and a deterioration of the state of being of the persons who have fallen victim to a crime. The Police force and prosecution workers know about this and will treat your report seriously.

“I am ashamed”
Reporting a crime may be awkward for you, especially if it concerns sexual abuse or domestic violence.  You have the right to be dealt with in a delicate non-judgemental way by the police or prosecution. Despite your gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality or origin, being a victim of a crime is always a difficult experience.

“No-one will bother”
the Police or prosecution are dealing with many cases, so it may happen that they won't handle your report as quickly as you'd like, but they certainly will. It is possible that they won't be able to identify the violator or catch them, but they will always try.

“I am over it and I suffered no trauma”
t's very good if the crime hasn't caused a trauma for you. There are people who deal with such difficult experiences very well and can live as if nothing had happened, even if they were violated by a serious crime. However, if you don't report a crime, the police won't have the possibility of prosecuting the violator, and as a result the crime may be committed again. You must take the following fact into consideration: another victim of a crime may not be as strong as you are.

“I am afraid of what will come next”
It's normal that you're afraid of going to the police before reporting a crime and in turn giving evidence in the courtroom. Don't forget, however, that there are people and institutions that can help you with the process.

Whatever the decision you make, you always have the right to receive support.
Even if you don't report the crime that harmed you, it is very important to talk with someone about what you experienced, about your feelings and to get the support you need. You have the right to expect that public institutions and non-governmental organizations giving aid to victims of crimes will help you, despite the fact you have reported the crime to the police or prosecutor or not.


If you become a victim of a crime, you can report this at the nearest police station or prosecutor.

You can also contact the police via phone, call 112 or 997 or the free of charge number 0 800 120 226.

You can report a crime in an oral and written form. The oral form is by telling a police officer or prosecutor about the whole event. After the oral report, you may be immediately questioned as a witness. Both the report and questioning will be written down in a report, which will be filled in by a police officer or prosecutor. You must sign such a report at the bottom. You may also report a crime in a written form.


A report about committing a crime does not require any specific form. It can be reported orally or in a written form. It should include the following information:

  • your name and surname;
  • address;
  • personal identity number;
  • number and series of ID card.

What is important is that there is no date by which you must report a crime.

However, you must remember that when the date determined in legislation is exceeded, organs will not be able to undertake action due to the time bar for particular crime categories, depending on the legally determined time limit for prosecution.


Contents of a report do not have to bear any specific structure. Simply write down on a sheet of paper exactly what happened and highlight that you are applying for holding the violators of the alleged crime criminally responsible. At the same time give all the evidence you have (documents, witness addresses etc.).
What is important, there are crimes whose prosecution is dependent on putting forward a motion by the victim. In such cases, organs cannot make decisions themselves leading to punishing the violator.
These crimes are prosecuted ex officio, but to initiate and hold a trial, and punishing the violator, a motion submitted by you the victim is additionally required. We deal many times with such situations where the violator is the closest person, and in many cases where limitation of prosecution with a motion is justified i.a. with protection of the victim's interest.

There are also crimes resulting in private accusations which are not subject to public prosecution and require you to submit to the court a private accusation, even though a trial can be held by a prosecutor if there is enough public interest. These include i.a. insult and libel. Private accusations must point out the violator, depict the crime and show evidence. You can submit private accusation in a written form directly to a court. You can also report the private accusation orally or in a written form to the police, who will make an appropriate document and send it to the court. Private accusation is subject to legal expenses of 300 pln.


It is the first stage of criminal action. It is led by the prosecutor of the police. During this stage, the prosecutor and the police will be gathering evidence i.e. they will question witnesses, take photographs of a car accident scene, take fingerprints from a door handle to a flat which had been broken into. If they determine the culprits, they will look for them and try their best to arrest them. If they gather enough evidence and catch the culprits, they will be able to put them on trial. Another stage of the action will then begin – court proceedings.
After you report a crime, the police and the prosecution are obliged to send the victim a formal statement about the undertakings (or refusal to undertake the preparatory proceedings) within six weeks of the report on the crime being lodged. You can get information about the proceedings stage by visiting a police station or the prosecution. You can also do this via phone. At this stage the case is identified by the report date, and the name and surname of the officer or prosecutor who accepted the report. The case receives a file reference number the moment the preparatory proceedings (investigation or inquiry) are initiated by enforcement agencies. The file reference number serves to identify the case, and it is necessary to use this to identify the case in question.
If the prosecutor refuses to undertake preparatory proceedings, you can appeal to the court. The complaint should be addressed to a court, but you send it to the prosecutor who issued the decision about refusing to undertake proceedings, and it is he who will forward the case to the appropriate court.
You only have 7 days to do this!

By reporting a crime, you may give all information and evidence you consider vital to the proceedings. However, you have no obligation to prove any element of a reported crime. Enforcement agencies are responsible for gathering evidence. Only with crimes that are private accusations, by principle, you have to show evidence and later prove the guilt of the defendant.


What are the rights of the victim in preparatory proceedings?

In preparatory proceedings, the victim can:

  • demand access to case files and make copies at their own cost;
  • take part in the proceedings, with the consent of the prosecutor;
  • demand a change of prosecutor or police officer responsible for the case when motivated by doubts in their objectivity;
  • appeal to a supervising prosecutor for every decision in the case;
  • voice suggestions and reservations to the protocol orally or in written form;
  • demand evidence examination, searching for evidence and witness hearings, (for example request a witness hearing).


Preparatory proceedings are led in the form of an investigation or inquiry.
Investigation is a form of leading preparatory proceedings only in cases about the most serious crimes.
The inquiries should take 2 months maximum, however, by prosecutor's decision it can be extended  to 3 months. Investigations should last 3 months maximum and also can be extended. 
The basic way of ending preparatory proceedings is by creating and submitting an accusation to the court. When the enforcement agencies finish all their actions, and the gathered evidence allows it, the prosecutor will bring the accusation to the court and they will support it there. However, it may happen that during the proceedings, enforcement agencies will decide that the defendant committed the crime while lacking accountability, and there are then grounds to apply protective measures provided by Criminal Law (for example, admitting to a mental institution). Then the prosecutor directs a request for discontinuance of proceedings and an application of protective measures. The prosecutor may also discontinue the proceedings. These situations occur when the stated crime was not committed, when what happened is not a crime at all, or our law states that the violator did not commit a crime and is not subject to penalty. Also when the defendant died or the prosecution time has expired, the proceedings will not begin, and the ongoing proceeding will be discontinued.

Expiry of prosecution time means that a certain amount of time has passed since the crime was committed, and after that time, according to law, the crime is not prosecutable and the violator cannot be punished.


As a victim you have the right to file a complaint on the discontinuance of investigations or inquiries. You need to be aware that a complaint is a very strong measure of appeal against decisions by various organs. It is helpful for you and helps you disagree with a prosecutor's decision and helps you appeal it. Then the court analyses whether the prosecutor's decision was good. Such a complaint should be directed to the court dealing with your case, but you direct it via the prosecutor who issued the decision you want to complain about. This means that you address your complaint to the court, but you send it to the prosecutor who issued it, and they direct it to the court. The prosecutor will direct your complaint to the appropriate court. The date for filing a complaint is 7 days from the date of receiving the prosecutor's decision, and this is the final date. This means that a complaint which is filed after the date will be ineffective! Ineffective means that if you file it after the date, no-one will deal with it as they have no such obligation. It is very important for you, and you have to remember that the date cannot be exceeded.

A complaint which is filed later than 7 days after receiving a copy of the prosecutor's decision will be ineffective! 




Proceedings in the court on criminal cases begin when an accusation is brought by the prosecutor (alternatively by another public prosecutor) to the court.
Proceedings in the court are two-instances, which means that the verdict of the first instance of the court (verdict of this sort, decision closing the way to issue a verdict, for example, about discontinuance of proceedings) may be appealed in the second instance of the court.

Most cases dealing with crimes, that is felonies, are looked at by district courts. These courts also deal with offences.
However, regional courts deal with crimes and some felonies (precisely described in the law).
The rules applied in the course of criminal procedure are regulated by the Code of Criminal Procedure. Court procedure, that is a trial, takes place in open court. Basically, there are two parties appearing before the court – the defendant and the public prosecutor. The victim has the right to take part in the trial despite the fact they are a party – auxiliary prosecutor or civil plaintiff.

Criminal cases are usually looked into using a trial.
However, cases are looked into during a court sitting in defined conditions (e.g. voluntary acceptance of penalty – para. 335 mode of the Code of Criminal Law – on application of the prosecutor, conditional discontinuance of criminal proceedings on application of the prosecutor).
A trial begins the moment it is called by the court registrar. The parties, witnesses, assessors and audience enter the court room (unless the court was closed.). After checking the attendance by the presiding judge, the court room is emptied of witnesses. Court proceedings begin by reading the accusation by the public prosecutor, yet before opening the proceedings, formal motions by the parties may be dealt with (for example, disqualification of a judge, adjournment of a trial, closing the hearing to the public, public defender appointment). After reading the accusation, questioning of the defendant takes place, who has the right to refuse to give explanations and answers to particular questions asked. Next the presiding judge conducts evidentiary proceedings. Then witnesses are questioned, along with assessors, other evidence is presented, for example, scrutiny of exhibits, reading a document, holding a proceedings experiment. During the court proceedings, the court looks into evidence motions that allow new evidence, or rejects evidence motions. After dealing with evidence motions of the parties and handling evidence taken into account by the court, or allowed by the court ex officio, the presiding judge closes the court proceedings and lets the parties speak. Then the parties present their proposals regarding the ruling to be made. After listening to the parties, the court go into deliberation, after which they announce the verdict (innocent, guilty, or conditionally discontinuing proceedings, or discontinuing proceedings).

For cases handled at a court, specific file reference numbers are reserved (K – to crimes, W – felonies, Ko – for verdict enforcement cases).


In criminal proceedings in a court, a victim may play various roles: witness, auxiliary prosecutor, civil plaintiff.
However, only as an auxiliary prosecutor or civil plaintiff are they granted the rights of a party to the event.
A victim not being a party to the event always has the right to:

  • take part in the proceedings (in such a case, a victim is questioned as the first witness);
  • file a motion to redress damage (however, such a motion should be filed before the end of victim's questioning);
  • be represented by a proxy of choice i.e. advocate or solicitor (established by the victim), however, the court my refuse to allow participation of a proxy in the proceedings if they decide that protection of the victim's interests does not require that;
  • file a motion to close the hearing to the public, for example, when the victim has filed a motion to prosecute the violator with crimes (with unlawful threats, criminal damage, stalking, etc);
  • withdraw a motion to prosecute the violator with crimes (up to the moment of beginning court proceedings in the first main trial).

Wider proceedings rights are granted to victims when they are a party - auxiliary prosecutor or civil plaintiff.
To receive such a status, it is necessary for the victim to file a declaration of working as an auxiliary prosecutor. The victim should put forward such an application by the time court proceedings begin at the main trial (putting forward such an application after the accusation was brought will result in issuing a refusal of allowing the victim to become an auxiliary prosecutor, and this cannot be complained about).
The victim can put the above declaration forward in a written form to the court (even after receiving a notification about directing the accusation to the court) or to the trial protocol (obviously from the moment the accusation is read out).
In turn, the victim should bring civil proceedings against the defendant before the proceedings begin in the main trial in order to become a civil plaintiff (the victim is temporarily exempted from paying registration of the civil proceedings).

A victim being one of the parties i.e. auxiliary prosecutor or civil plaintiff, has the right to:

  • file evidence motions (however, if the court opposes the motion there is no right to complain);
  • file a motion to disqualify a judge (for example, when circumstances arise in which there is doubt whether the judge is impartial, however, if a decision on not disqualifying the judge is made,  there is no right to complain);
  • file a motion to appoint a proxy ex officio (if covering the costs of a proxy by choice would make a family or financial situation more difficult);
  • ask questions to witnesses, assessors, or the defendant during questioning;
  • appeal the verdict;
  • appeal decisions leading to closing the way to issue the verdict (for example, a ruling on discontinuance of proceedings) and others determined in law, for example, in respect of applying protective measures such as temporary arrest, police supervision and others.

In cases of so-called private accusations (for example, about insult, libel, violation of bodily integrity, causing light body injuries), the victim has the right to bring a private accusation to court, or filing a complaint with the police about a crime concerning private prosecution.
In the accusation the victim should point out the violator, the deed they are accused of, and show evidence to support the accusation. When a private accusation is brought, it is necessary to pay a flat rate of processing costs of 300 pln (under article 623 of the Criminal Law, the victim can file an application for exemption from the above fee by the court, if the payment is too inconvenient for the victim due to their family and financial situation – such an application must be justified and supported with documents e.g. an unemployed status decision from a district job centre, retirement check or income statement).
In the case of reporting a crime concerning a private accusation to the police, after it is lodged, the court will urge the victim to pay the flat rate processing costs of 300 pln within 7 days, otherwise the accusation as may be seen as ineffective without delivery of the request of payment.
In the case of reporting a crime concerning a private accusation, the victim as a private prosecutor is granted rights (described above). Moreover, they have the right to withdraw the accusation, which results in discontinuance of proceedings (however, after opening court proceeding, the defendant must agree to exemption from prosecution).
In the case of reporting a crime concerning a private accusation, it is obligatory for the court to set a  conciliatory session where the court listens to the position of the private prosecutor and the defendant as far as an amicable settlement is concerned. In the case of an amicable settlement, the court  discontinues the proceedings. 
The second case in which the victim has the right to bring an accusation is where the prosecutor has refused again to begin preparatory proceedings, or has discontinued it after repealing the decision on refusal to start preparatory proceedings, or on discontinuing it by the court as a result of recognizing the complaint of the victim for the first ruling on refusal to start proceedings or its discontinuance. (The right to bring a subsidiary accusation is not granted to the victim if the prosecutor issued a decision on refusal to start preparatory proceedings first time, and second time a decision on discontinuance of proceedings. In such a case a subsidiary accusation may be brought only after issuing a repeated decision on discontinuance of preparatory proceedings).
A subsidiary accusation must be made and signed by an attorney of law or solicitor. The victim must pay a flat rate of processing costs of 300 pln (yet just as in the case of a private accusation they have the right to file an application to be exempted from covering these costs).
Such an accusation must be brought to court within 30 days of the notification about repeated discontinuance of proceedings or refusal to start preparatory proceedings is delivered to the victim (not meeting the above deadline results in discontinuance of proceedings, this deadline cannot be reinstated).

A subsidiary prosecutor (alternatively auxiliary prosecutor) has the right of exemption from prosecution. The court notifies the prosecutor about this and if in 14 days from the notification the prosecutor will not accede to the accusation, the court discontinues the proceedings. In cases where the victim has brought a subsidiary accusation, they function as a party i.e. auxiliary prosecutor (with all the rights of the party, as described above).


It is normal to feel unsure and anxious before the trial. It's a new situation which you are not used to. That is why it is important to prepare for it well. Staff of the Aid Centres for Crime Victims may help you with that.

If you have the opportunity, go to the court a few days before your trial to see where the courtroom is. It's also good to attend some other trial or part of it if you have such an opportunity.

On the day of the trial,  you will most probably meet the defendant, his relatives and friends. You should prepare for this beforehand, planning what you will do, for example, I will keep away from them, I will not react to their taunts, if I feel at risk, I will immediately inform a magistrate or a police officer. If it is possible, take someone along. No matter your role in the trial, you can always be accompanied by a lawyer.

During the trial, the judge, prosecutor, defendant's barrister and your proxy, if you have one, will ask you questions. It's normal that they will ask you to answer in great detail as the more detail the court knows, the more just its decision will be. The judge expects you to speak in your own words about what happened. That's why before the trial begins, try to organise in your head all the information you consider important and you want to say in the court. For example, you may take notes of dates of the most important events. However, it's normal that you won't recall all the details especially if some time has passed since the crime was committed. In such a situation don't be afraid to say: “I don't know”.

You must remember that if you are a victim of a crime, your participation in the trial may have an enormous importance in returning to equilibrium.
Committing crimes is unacceptable and is not tolerated by society. A trial plays a crucial role in sending out the message that persons breaking the law must take responsibility for them and face the consequences of their own actions.


If you receive a summons for a hearing at the court, you must appear at the place and time stated on the summons.
Plan your arrival to court beforehand by checking exactly where the court building is and how much time you need to get there.
If it is possible, be in the court ahead of time, in case security checks last longer (this happens especially in bigger courts) and to learn exactly where your trial will take place. If you are not sure where to go, ask a magistrate, who will show you the way. When you get to the right courtroom, wait until the magistrate reads the list of names of the persons who will take part in the trial. Reply when your name is read so that your presence is noted down. Now you must wait until the magistrate asks you to enter the courtroom. If you play the role of a witness, you may enter the courtroom when your turn comes to give evidence. You cannot be in the courtroom before that, and when you have finished giving evidence you may remain inside.
Sometimes the beginning of a trial is delayed because not all the persons involved have managed to arrive or because the preceding trial has taken more time to finish. No matter the reason for the delay, you must wait. It's good to take a book, newspaper, magazine or music with you.


No matter what, try to be in the court for your trial! Your presence is very important!
Your knowledge about what happened is vital and may influence the judge's decision. Your absence will delay the course of the trial, make it more difficult for the judge to recreate the course of events and to give a just verdict.

If you know beforehand that you will not be able to take part in the trial, you should inform the court at least 5 days before the trial by writing a letter with explanations why you cannot appear in court, and you should enclose all the documents which confirm that. 

If something unexpected happens at the last minute, for example, a sudden illness or a delay connected with travel, you must inform the court about it as soon as possible. Moreover, in 3 days time you must present in the court proof that you couldn't appear in the court on the set date, for example, a doctor's excuse or a certificate stating the delay issued by an officer of the public transportation company. Absence in the court as a result of an illness may be excused only by a certificate issued by court doctor – a list of these can be found in any court.

The necessity of being present at work does not excuse you from the obligation of being present for the trial as the court may issue a document which will excuse you from being present at work.

If you don't appear for the trial and don't present any documents confirming the fact that you really couldn't take part in the trial, the court will penalize you with a fine. The court can also issue a warrant for the police to detain you and bring you to the courtroom.


In most cases, trials are open, which means anyone can enter the courtroom and attend the trial.
However, there are a few exceptions, for example a trial concerning a sexual crime or trade in humans. In such cases, random persons are not allowed in the courtroom, in order to protect the victims' privacy.


There are exceptions to the principle of cognisance in a criminal case after holding an evidentiary hearing i.e. the so-called summary judgement, voluntary submission to penalty in pursuant to the article 335 of the Criminal Law or article 387of the Criminal Law, for a verdict conditionally discontinuing the proceedings issued during a hearing, and limitation of evidentiary hearings pursuant to the article 388 of the Criminal Law.

The court may issue a summary judgement during a hearing without the participation of the parties, in cases of crimes subject to cognisance in simplified proceedings (i.e. where preparatory proceedings were held is the form of an investigation), if the court makes a decision based on the gathered evidence in the preparatory proceedings, that holding a trial is not necessary (at the same time, the circumstances of the deed and the defendant's guilt leave no doubt), in cases allowing adjudication of a prison sentence or a financial penalty – a fine.
The means for challenging a summary judgement is an objection that needs to be brought to court within 7 days of receiving the summary judgement. The right to bring an objection is granted to the defendant and to the prosecutor. That is why the victim will only have the right to challenge the summary judgement when they serve the function of a party i.e. auxiliary prosecutor.
Pursuant to Article 388 of the Criminal Law, under the consent of the present parties, the court can hold an evidentiary hearing only partially (i.e. limit it to only to particular exhibits), if the defendant's explanations, who pleads guilty, raise no doubts.
The prosecutor may supplement the accusation with an application to voice a verdict and state penalties or other measures described in the Criminal Law agreed by the defendant for the crime attributed to them without a trial, if the circumstance of committing the crime raises no doubts, and the defendant's attitude shows that the objectives of the proceedings have been reached. Such a deal can also include the defendant's obligation to cover the processing costs (voluntary submission to penalty pursuant to Article 255 of the Criminal Law).
The court looks into such an application at the hearing (where an evidentiary hearing is not held) about which the prosecutor, the defendant and the victim (even if they are not a party) are notified, delivering the victim a copy of the mentioned application beforehand).
The victim is eligible to take part in the mentioned hearing, and at this hearing it is the latest they can file a statement about the intention of acting as an auxiliary prosecutor (otherwise i.e. not being a party, they will not have a right to challenge the verdict). For the court to issue a verdict in the described way, the lack of victim's challenge regarding the application for voluntary submission to penalty is not necessary. However, if Article 46 of the Criminal Law cannot be applied, the court can conditionally take into consideration the application to make up for damages fully or partially or compensation for the loss suffered. At the mentioned hearing, the victim has the right to file an application to make up for damages or compensation for the loss suffered.
The defendant on the trial has the right to file an application for issuing a conviction or setting a penalty or a penal measure without holding an evidentiary hearing in cases of felonies where the defendant's questioning has finished.
The court can take into consideration the defendant's application for issuing a conviction when the circumstances of committing the crime raise no doubts and the objectives of the proceedings will be reached despite not holding the proceedings fully.
Taking into consideration such a motion is only possible when the prosecutor and the victim do not oppose it, while the victim was rightfully notified about the date of the trial, and the defendant informed about the possibility of filing such an application.
The victim has the right to challenge the verdict pursuant to voluntary submission to a penalty if acting in the proceedings as a party (auxiliary prosecutor or civil plaintiff).

In the case of the prosecutor filing an application for conditional discontinuance of the criminal proceedings against the defendant, the court notifies the date of the hearing to the prosecutor, the defendant and the victim (even if they are a party), who have the right to participate in it. If a verdict to conditionally discontinue the proceedings is issued, the victim (even if they are not a party) has the right to file an application for justification of the verdict and later to bring an appeal.


Issuing a verdict in a criminal case is preceded by a few procedural actions. These are: a ruling by the residing judge on closing the court proceedings, statements by the parties, and deliberation of the judges. Only after holding a deliberation of the judges is the verdict made in a written form and announced. After announcing the verdict, the court is obliged to justify the ruling orally. It is worth pointing out that the verdict is always announced publicly. However, it might be the case that it isn’t should the case be closed to the public –so-called closed doors.
As it was mentioned above, the first action leading to issuing a verdict is a ruling by the residing judge on closing the court proceedings. This action is undertaken when the parties do not voice new motions for evidence, and the court decides that the case was explained well enough.
After closing the court proceedings, statements by the parties begin, also called closing arguments. The prosecutor speaks first. In most cases it is the prosecution who acts as a public prosecutor, but it can also be the auxiliary prosecutor, private prosecutor, civil plaintiff or social proxy.  The defendant's barrister speaks last, and if the defendant defends themself, the floor is given is given to them. In the closing arguments, the parties justify their positions referring to the gathered evidence and say what they want and why. The prosecutor says what penalty he demands for the defendant, and the defendant's barrister argues for the advantage of their client.
When the closing arguments are over, the court goes into the deliberation of the judges, and afterwards makes a written justification of the verdict and announces it in the courtroom. It is a custom that during the announcement of the verdict (reading it) everyone present in the courtroom stands up, excluding the judges. After the announcement they may sit down and listen to the oral justification of the verdict.
If the court decides that the case is too complicated they may adjourn issuing of the verdict for a maximum of 7 days.

After announcing the verdict, the defendant and his barrister, the prosecutor, auxiliary prosecutor and his proxy may file an application for creating a justification and delivery of the verdict. After receiving the verdict along with the justification, any party interested in appealing may do so within 14 days of receiving the written verdict justification.


Always tell the truth

Always tell the truth. Telling the truth means that you describe everything what happened, including all details you remember. That is the role of the witness.

Carefully listen to questions asked

Carefully listen to questions asked.  Before answering, wait until a complete question is asked.

Take time

Take time to think over the question and your answer.

Short sentences and clear terms

Answer slowly using short sentences and clear terms.

Do not be afraid to tell everything

Do not be afraid to tell everything you know with all details. All information provided may turn out to be important for the court. If you feel you need to use swear words to describe what happened, since the offender used such words when perpetrating the crime, you should do it.

Describe what you are asked about only.

Describe what you are asked about only. Do not talk about things you do not know about, only to satisfy the person asking question.

Do not answer questions you do not fully understand.

Do not answer questions you do not fully understand. You may ask a person to repeat his/her question or provide explanation. You may say for instance: ‘I’m sorry, I don’t understand. Can you repeat, please?/Can you explain the question to me?”

If you do not know how to answer a question

If you do not know how to answer a question, you should say ‘I don’t know’. Remember, your goal is to tell everything you know about the incident. Do not invent things just to say something. Do not describe what wpresumably happened or express your opinion. Tell what you have actually seen, heard or know for sure. Circulating rumours and gossips when testifying does not make sense, since they are useless for the court.

Each time try to give the same answer.

It may happen that the same question is asked more than once. Each time try to give the same answer.     

It is natural that you may not remember all details or not be able to reconstruct precisely what happened

It is natural that you may not remember all details or not be able to reconstruct precisely what happened. If it is so, stay calm and do not be afraid to say ‘I don’t remember’. It is normal that we forget things that happened in the past. This is how our memory works. This may also be related to the time factor (It happens that witnesses need to testify about events that took place several months or years before) and on top of that it is easy for us to remember unpleasant incidents.

Notify the Police immediately.

If you are threatened, intimidated or someone attempts to attack you after you testified, notify the Police immediately. If someone threatened or intimidated you or tried to attack you before you testify, apart from reporting the fact to the Police, tell the court about it.    

It is natural that you might be nervous

It is natural that you might be nervous, scared or about to cry. Testifying can make anyone nervous or scared. Talking about a crime or answering questions about what you have seen (or experienced) is unpleasant itself, since it reminds you about things you tend to forget or erase from your memory. It may happen that you burst into cry. Do not be ashamed. Everyone will understand, since many people react like that in the court.

If you feel exhausted

If you feel exhausted or excessively nervous, you may ask for a break to use bathroom or to have a glass of water and paper tissue. 

Try not to look at the offender when answering questions.

Do not be afraid of the offender and do not let the sight of him/her prevent you from testifying. Try not to look at the offender when answering questions. Focus on the person asking questions only. If you do not want the offender to be present in the court room when you testify, you can tell the judge about it. If the judge agrees, the defendant will be removed from the court room when you testify.

The witness’s role is to provide information that might help the judge producing a fair verdict.

The witness is not accused of anything and has not committed any crime. It is the defendant who is suspected of committing a crime. The witness’s role is to provide information that might help the judge producing a fair verdict.

It is natural that during a trial you may hear or be asked

It is natural that during a trial you may hear or be asked about things bringing bitter feelings, for instance someone may question what you experienced. Remember that it might be a way for the defence attorney to defend his/her client.

Remember that you have no influence on the court verdict.

Remember that you have no influence on the court verdict. Do the right thing: tell everything you know about the crime. Remember that it is the judge who finally decides about the sentence.

If the defendant is acquitted

If the defendant is acquitted, this does not mean that the judge does not believe what you testified during the trial. The fact that someone is acquitted does not necessarily mean the person is innocent. It means that evidence collected was insufficient for the court to sentence the offender.  

You may stay in the court room and listen

It is possible that after you testify the proceedings will continue and another witness will be asked to testify. In such a case, you may stay in the court room and listen to the proceedings or leave the court. You cannot discuss your testimony with others, especially if those people are witnesses still awaiting to testify.

You may be present when the judge reads out the sentence

After all witnesses have testified, the judge informs people present in the court room when the sentence is to be announced. If you want to and can, you may be present when the judge reads out the sentence, but it is not mandatory.



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