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Q. Why am I being taken to court?
A. Because it is alleged that you have committed the offence described on the summons and you have previously declined our offer to deal with the case without it having to go court or you have ignored correspondence from us about the matter.

Q. Do I have to attend court?
A. It depends. You can come to court to plead guilty but if you would prefer to plead guilty by post you can complete the form provided with the summons and return it to the court along with the form that asks for details of your financial circumstances.

If you are pleading not guilty you can fill in the form with the summons or attend. If you do not fill in the form or attend your view on things like the date of the trial will not be known. If you do not attend court for the trial itself the case may proceed without you and so the court will not hear your evidence.

Q. If I have a trial will I be able to challenge Northern's witnesses?
A. Yes. You will be able to put your questions to all of the witnesses.

Q. Can I just pay Northern's costs and have the case withdrawn?
A. No. The court has issued the summons and you should respond to the summons.

Q. If I attend court will I be able to get 'legal aid' for a lawyer to represent me?
A. Please contact the court for information about this.

Q. If I plead guilty or if I am convicted after a trial will I get a criminal record?
A. If you are convicted of an offence or if you plead guilty you may get a criminal record. As with most convictions it will eventually become 'spent'. How long it takes to become spent will depend on the nature of the sentence that is imposed by the court.

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