If you claim trial, this means that you dispute the charge and would like a court hearing to defend yourself. You will be asked if you wish to engage a lawyer if you are in person.
If you wish to engage a lawyer, you will be given time to do so. Once the parties are ready, the Court may fix the case for a Pre-Trial Conference or for trial.
The purpose of the Pre-Trial Conference is to ascertain if a case is ready for trial. If the matter is fixed for a Pre-Trial Conference, you will be asked the number of witness you will be calling in support of your defence. Once the case is ready for trial, the matter will be fixed for hearing. You will be informed of the date, time and place of hearing.
On the day of the trial, when you attend court, you will be asked whether you plead guilty to the charge(s) against you. Once the matter is fixed for trial, the Court will not allow any adjournments of the matter. If you plead guilty, you will be sentenced by the Court.
If you claim trial, you are expected to bring along evidence, including witnesses (if any), in support of your defence on the day of the trial.
At the end of the trial, the Court will decide whether you are guilty of the offence. If the Court finds that you are guilty of the offence, you will be asked if you have any mitigating facts to present to the court. These are factors that the Court can take into consideration in deciding to impose a more lenient sentence. Thereafter, the Court will pass its sentence, which may either be a fine or imprisonment or both. Where the law provides a sentence of caning, the Court may order such a sentence if you are male and below 50 years of age.
If the Court finds that you are not guilty of the charge, you will be acquitted and discharged of the offence.