The Supreme Court of Victoria
The Supreme Court of Victoria hears and determines the most serious indictable offence matters including murder, manslaughter and treason. If you have been charged with a serious criminal offence, please contact our defence experts at Sher Criminal Lawyers immediately for specialist legal advice and representation.
What is the Supreme Court of Victoria?
The Victorian criminal court system has a hierarchy which determines which types of cases can be heard in each court. The Supreme Court hears the most serious indictable offence matters including murder, manslaughter and treason. Only the High Court of Australia can review the Supreme Court’s decisions.
Before an indictable matter can be trialled in the Supreme Court, it must first proceed through committal proceedings in the Magistrates’ Court. During the committal proceedings, the Magistrates’ Court considers whether there is enough evidence to warrant a trial in the higher courts. Please see ‘Committal Stream’ for more information.
Criminal matters in the Supreme Court are heard and finalised by trial. That is, the jury delivers a verdict based on the evidence presented in court and the Judge (called a Justice) imposes the appropriate penalty if the accused is found guilty. The jury normally consists of 12 people, although sometimes this number may be increased to 15 for long trials. Please see ‘County Court and Supreme Court Procedure’ for more information.
The Supreme Court hears cases in a number of different buildings in the Melbourne CBD and 12 locations across regional Victoria. The average run time for a trial in the Supreme Court of Victoria is between 21-28 days.
If you have been charged with a serious criminal offence, please contact our defence experts at Sher Criminal Lawyers immediately for specialist legal advice and representation.
Matters Heard in the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court hears and determines the most serious indictable offence matters in Victoria. Offences that must always be heard in the Supreme Court include:
- Manslaughter; and
The Supreme Court may also hear other major indictable offence matters under certain circumstances. The prosecution (called the Crown) may choose to prosecute an indictable offence in the Supreme Court if the matter is serious enough. However, the Justice reserves the right to not hear the matter and send it back to the County Court should they so choose.
It is also worth noting that in some circumstances, summary offences may be heard summarily in the Supreme Court. This occurs if:
- The summary offences are related to indictable offences being trialled in the Supreme Court (unless the accused and the prosecution agree otherwise);
- The summary offences are unrelated, but the accused is before the Supreme Court for an indictable offence and consents to the trial court hearing and determining the summary offence because they intend to plead guilty to that offence.
In such cases, the Supreme Court must determine the summary charge summarily (i.e. in accordance with summary procedure). This means that no jury can be involved in determining the summary charges and the Supreme Court can only impose a sentence that the Magistrates’ Court could have imposed in relation to those charges.
Penalties in the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court interprets sentencing laws and relevant criminal legislation when determining an appropriate sentence in indictable offence matters. The most serious indictable offences in Victoria carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. To learn more about the maximum penalty for any given offence, please see ‘Legal Services’ and choose the relevant page.
How We Can Help You in the Supreme Court
The defence experts at Sher Criminal Lawyers are extensively experienced in jury trials and work alongside Senior and Queens Counsel when running matters before the Supreme Court of Victoria. Further, we forensically analyse each case to create a compelling legal strategy.
If you have been charged with an indictable criminal offence, please contact Sher Criminal Lawyers immediately. Our experienced team is here to help you secure the best possible outcome in your matter by applying our specialist knowledge of the criminal law and the Victorian justice system. We are available 24/7 and offer free consultations by way of Zoom, Facetime or in person at our Melbourne and Moorabbin offices.