Suspect and defendant

Suspect and defendant are specific terms used in regard of culprits in criminal procedure. In pre-trial investigation the term “suspect” is used in regard of everyone who is being questioned about a crime he or she might have committed. When enough evidence of the guilt of the suspect are gathered, a prosecutor lays the charges against him or her and forwards the case file to court. From this moment the term “defendant” is used in regard of the culprit instead of the term “suspect”.

Court hearings can proceed in exceptional cases even when injured parties are not present, however cannot be held when a defendant is absent.

When questioned during a trial injured parties (victims) and witnesses are requested to give an oath to tell the truth, while such a request is not applied to defendants – they cannot be punished for giving false statements. In some cases, presence of a defendant can be stressful for injured parties (victims) and witnesses testifying at a trial, in these cases a judge can decide that a defendant shall leave the room that hearing takes place for the time of the testimony. In these cases, the defendant is provided with technical opportunity to what the questioning going on and to forward his or her questions to a judge, who is obliged to read them to the injured party (victim) or a witness.

I was a victim of crime: consequences and reactions The rights of victims of crime Criminal proceedings Who’s who in criminal proceedings


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