Criminal Court Preparation

Preparing for court: a guide for victims

These videos explain what happens before, during and after a criminal trial when you’re testifying as a witness.

Watch the court process playlist containing nine short videos


Or skip to the video you’re interested in:

Preparing to go to court

This video explains how you can prepare for court.

Information includes:

  • what a subpoena is
  • testimonial aids available for victims and vulnerable witnesses
  • safety, including what to do if you feel unsafe
  • general tips for preparing for court

When you arrive at court

This video explains what to expect when you arrive at court.

Information includes:

  • when to arrive
  • the security screening process
  • meeting with the Crown Attorney and defence attorney
  • what an exclusion order means for witnesses
  • what a publication ban is for a sexual assault case, and how you can request one

The general court process

This video explains what happens in a courtroom during a criminal trial.

Information includes:

  • what to do while other witnesses are testifying
  • what an adjournment is
  • what reasonable doubt means
  • the roles of the Crown attorney and defence attorney
  • what happens during cross examination and closing arguments

Trial by judge and jury

This video explains how jury trials are different from trials by judge.

Information includes:

  • the roles of the judge and jury
  • how jurors are selected

When called as a witness

This video explains what happens when it’s your turn to testify as a witness.

Information includes:

  • taking an oath or affirmation
  • what to expect when you testify

After you testify

This video explains what happens after you’re done testifying.

  • what to do after you’ve finished testifying
  • how to get a court transcript or information about the outcome of the trial
  • witness fees and other expenses you can claim

Verdict and sentencing

This video explains what happens when the judge or jury reaches a decision.

Information includes:

  • what acquittals and convictions mean
  • what happens during a sentencing hearing
  • how to submit a victim impact statement for the sentencing hearing
  • what happens if the Crown or defence appeals the case

After the completion of court

Information about evidence returns, Restitution claims and help collecting, Criminal Injuries Counselling Program and custody term details.

Information includes:

  • how long evidence will be kept after the trial or appeal
  • how to submit a restitution claim for damages the offender caused you
  • how the Criminal Injuries Counselling Program can help victims with trauma
  • how to get information about where the offender is being held in custody and when they will be released


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Contact information

  • Victim Services: 902-424-3309