An excerpt from Surviving Court, A Guide to Understanding the Criminal Court Process, by the Women's Centre of Change.
Make a police report. This is the first step to obtaining justice.
Once a report has been made, an officer will be assigned to investigate the crime. If a victim is injured, the officer will take her to a government hospital for a medical examination.
A police investigating officer (IO) will be assigned to investigate the crime. The IO will interview other witnesses, collect physical evidence (if any) and obtain statements from various other experts such as medical practitioners. This may take weeks and sometimes months.
Once the investigation has been completed, the investigating officer will decide, based on the evidence, whether to recommend that the perpetrator be charged. If he does, investigation papers will be referred to the Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) who will then decide if there is enough evidence to charge the suspect for the crime.
Sometimes the DPP may require the IO to get more evidence in which case the investigation will continue.
If there isn’t sufficient evidence, the case will be closed and the suspect will not be charged. But, the case may be reopened if new evidence arises.
Trial/ Court case begins.
If the accused pleads guilty, the court will record his guilty plea and impose sentence.
If the accused pleads not guilty, the case goes before a judge who will listen to the statements of the victim, the accused, their witnesses as well as the lawyers of both parties before examining the evidence and delivering a verdict. Depending on the severity of the crime, the accused may be remanded or released on bail while the case is ongoing.