Resources For Young People

Your time within the Criminal Justice System is unique journey to you. A.S.S.C. is here to support you along the way.

​This page will provide you with the necessary information to prepare yourself for court.

If you have any questions, please contact us at support@assc.ie

Your Rights

The Victims of Crime Act 2017 lays out the rights victims/witnesses have in court. They are:

  • The right to be given detailed information about the criminal justice system.
  • The right to be given information on victim support services.
  • The right to be kept informed of the progress of the investigation and any court proceedings.
  • The right to have protection needs assessed and have measures put in place to stop further victimisation and intimidation.
  • The right to be told of a decision not to prosecute and the right to ask for a review of that decision.
  • The right to be given information in clear language and to have access to interpretation and translation services if needed.

As a young person, you are given even more special measures to keep you safe during the process. They are:

  • The right to have your statement recorded with a specially trained Garda.
  • The right to provide your evidence from a video link room instead of the court room.
  • All barristers and judges must remove their professional garb, such as wigs and gowns.
  • Under specific conditions, the right to have an intermediary to assist you during the trial.

People in Court

There can be a lot of different people working on your case, and there are even more working in the courts. It is easy to forget who everyone is but don’t worry as we have a list below explaining everyone’s job that you might meet along the way.

The Judge is in charge of the courtroom. They make sure that the trial is fair.

The Jury is a group of 12 people who are selected from the general public. They listen to all of the evidence and decide if the accused person is guilty or not.

The Prosecution Barrister works for the state and they present the case against the accused to the judge and jury and explain what they are charged of.

The Defence Barrister defends the accused person by questioning the prosecution’s case. Their main goal is to create a reasonable doubt in the mind of the jury that the accused did not commit the alleged crime.

The Solicitors work with the barristers. In the court they sit facing the barristers and give them instructions during the trial.

The Accused or defendant is the person who is charged with commiting the alleged crime.

The Video Link Assistant will sit with you in the video link room when you provide your testimony to the court.

The Trial Process

The court system and trial process can be confusing and overwhelming, especially after waiting a long time for a case to be heard in court.

Arraignment – This is when the charges (the indictment) are read to the accused person and they say if they are guilty or not guilty. The trial will take one of two pathways depending on if there is a guilty or not guilty plea.

Guilty Plea – If the accused pleads guilty the case will go straight to a sentencing date. During the sentencing the judge is informed of the facts of the case. This includes professional reports about the accused and a Victim Impact Statement from the young person and/or family. Afterwards, the judge will think about everything and will decide a penalty for the accused person. This usually happens on a different day from the first part of sentencing.

Not Guilty Plea – If the accused pleads not guilty, a jury will be selected. This consists of 12 people from the public. Once the jury is selected the trial can begin.

Pre-Trial Meeting

As you can see there is a lot involved in a court trial. Here at ASSC, a service we provide is a pre-trial meeting. This is when we bring young people and their families/carers into the court a few days before the trial is meant to start to show them around. The main goal of a pre-trial meeting is to familiarise you with the courthouse and the court process. It is also a good opportunity for you to ask any questions or raise any worries you might have.

What happens at a pre-trial meeting?

– On the day, a staff member and/or a trained volunteer will meet you at the court reception and introduce themselves to you. They will then bring you to the victim support area. This is a safe area off access to the public and only available to people who are witnesses or victims of a crime. You will be shown around the area so you know where things are, such as the bathroom.

– In the support area, there will be a private room just for you and your family. During the trial, you will also have a private room which is where you will spend your time waiting to give your evidence.

– After you are familiar with the support area, you will be shown the video link room. This is where you will provide your evidence for the trial.

– You will also be shown an empty court room so you can see what it’s like. You’ll get to see where everyone sits, such as the barristers, jury, and judge. You can even sit in the judge’s seat if you want.

Other Resources

Here are some other resources that may be useful for you

Court Services

Court Services

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Garda Victims Information Booklet

Spunout

Spunout

Epic

EPIC

Jigsaw

Barnardos

Barnardos

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