The Criminal Division hears indictable offences under Victorian and Commonwealth law, as well as appeals from the Magistrates' Court and Children's Court.
The County Court is the principal trial court in Victoria. The Criminal Division has jurisdiction to hear all indictable offences except for treason, murder and related offences.
The majority of serious indictable offences committed in Victoria are dealt with in the Criminal Division. Her Honour Judge M Sexton is the acting head of the Criminal Division. The Criminal Division deals with a broad range of criminal matters under both Victorian and Commonwealth legislation, including serious theft, armed robbery, aggravated burglary, drug trafficking, sexual offences, fraud and dishonesty offences, culpable driving and serious assaults.
The Criminal Division’s workload is made up of a range of hearings including:
Each year the Criminal Division hears approximately 350 trials that run to verdict, 1,300 plea hearings, 3,500 appeals and more than 1,000 post-sentence supervision hearings.
Within the Criminal Division there are a number of lists and specialist courts including:
Judges in these lists are experienced trial judges who actively case manage trials to ensure that all pre-trial issues are identified and an accurate trial estimate is given.
In addition to hearing criminal matters in Melbourne, the Criminal Division of the County Court sits at 12 circuit locations situated in major regional centres.
The Court commenced exploring reform of the Criminal Division’s judicial work systems in mid-2018. Through the design and testing of an active case management system, the Court has sought to improve efficiency in the pre-trial process and enhance productivity, thereby enabling judges to focus on the value work of hearing and determining matters.
The Court will continue working together with the relevant stakeholders, judges and court staff to expand the pilot for a further 12 months.