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Inside the Magistrates Courtroom

People in the courtroom


The magistrate has the power to make decisions on simple offences and some indictable offences. For more serious indictable offences the magistrate determines if there is enough evidence to refer the case for trial in the district court and supreme court. They are addressed as ‘Your Honour’ and usually wear a plain black robe.

Depositions clerk

The depositions clerk calls defendants when the magistrate is ready, records proceedings and calls each witness to give evidence.


The prosecutor presents the case against the defendant. For simple offences a police officer usually prosecutes the case. For indictable offences the prosecutor may be a lawyer from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Defence lawyer

A lawyer who speaks on behalf of the defendant. This may be a duty lawyer who is supplied by Legal Aid Queensland or from private practice.


The defendant is the person accused of committing the offence. If the defendant is in custody they will sit in the dock next to a correctional services officer.


People whom the prosecution or defence call to give evidence to support their version of events. Both the prosecutor and the defence lawyer will ask the witness questions.

The public

The public and media can sit in the public gallery to watch, unless the magistrate orders a closed court.

Last reviewed
1 February 2010
Last updated
9 March 2012

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