An easy explainer of private prosecution

Have you ever been a victim of an offence against you but the police or the public prosecutor are unwilling to charge the offender? Continue reading this Business Kitz blog post to discover how you can start a private prosecution to take your offender to a criminal trial.

What is a private prosecution?

The victim of an offence, rather than the state, prosecutes the alleged offender in a private prosecution.  Private prosecutions are typically initiated when the police have decided not to prosecute an alleged perpetrator following receipt of a complaint.

What is the difference between private and public prosecution?

The primary distinction between the two is that while private prosecution is started by an individual, public prosecution is initiated by the police.

Why start a private prosecution?

The most common reason for initiating a private prosecution is when the police have decided not to charge an alleged offender. At this moment the victim should decide whether to accept the police decision or to initiate committal proceedings against their offence.

Who can start a private prosecution?

In the state of New South Wales, Section 14 of the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW) authorises that a prosecution may be instituted by any person unless the right to institute the prosecution is confined by statute. 

Private prosecution requires court attendance.

How to start a private prosecution?

If you wish to begin a private prosecution, the individual must fill out a court attendance notification form. According to Local Court requirements, this court attendance form must be signed by a Registrar and filed.

A court attendance notice is a document that starts a criminal investigation. The details of the offence are all listed in this document, along with the date and time the accused must appear in court to defend themselves.

As with any criminal procedure, a private prosecution has a cost. In this case, the parties involved must pay the costs of the procedures. However, in some cases, the court will issue a costs order.

Legal advice

Frequently, private prosecutors are employed in economic crimes such as fraud where the police refuse to investigate due to a lack of funds or personnel. If you are an individual and are considering private prosecution, it is advised to get legal counsel in order to determine the benefits and drawbacks of going to court, as well as your chances of success. Our sister company, Legal Kitz, is ready to assist; you can schedule a free 30-minute consultation with their skilled and highly qualified team through our website right now.

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