Differentiating between whether an offence was a minor or a serious offence is no easy thing to do, a general guideline is however to look at in which court the offence is prosecuted. The prosecution may also decide to prosecute a serious offence in a lesser court, depending on circumstances, and vice versa.
These offences are typically prosecuted in a District Court (Magistrate's Court), where the maximum sentence is 3 years, with a few exceptions, notably being domestic violence, where the sentence is a maximum of 5 years.
Offences that are typically heard in this court are:
- Theft (shoplifting, cable theft, etc.)
- Assault (common and grievous bodily harm)
- Contravention of a Protection Order
- Culpable Homicide
- Reckless & Negligent Driving
- Drunk Driving
- Possession of undesirable substances (small quantities)
- Possession of stolen property
- Housebreaking with the intent to steal and theft
- Being illegal in the country
- Public Violence
- Drinking in Public
- Inconsiderate Driving
These offences are typically prosecuted in a Regional Court (Magistrate's Court), where the maximum sentence is 15 years imprisonment, or alternatively in the High Court where the maximum sentence can be up to life imprisonment.
Offences that are usually hear in this court are:
- Attempted Murder
- Possession of a Stolen Vehicle
- Housebreaking with the intent to rob / assault and robbery / assault
- Assault on a minor
- Possession of undesirable substances (large quantities)
- Armed Robbery