Saturday, 25th February 2017
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Judge Accountability


Fair trials are the pivotal human right and essential for justice


Please answer the following questions to the best of your ability with respect to your own trial experience, or the trial experience of another, who may be a person you represent or someone you are simply concerned about. Questions marked with an "*" must be answered, while other questions are optional and may be skipped if not applicable. 


Providing this information helps OpenTrial ascertain what is actually happening in justice sectors.  This information can be used to explain justice sector problems to policymakers, the media and the public, in order to bring about improvements. By completing the questionnaire you agree that we may use, share, and make public the information, but using only your city and state. We will not share or make public your first name, last name, address, phone number, case number or email address unless we contact you and gain your permission to do so.


Thanks for taking the time to do this.


Enter your first name: *
Enter your last name: *
Enter your email address: *
Enter your city: *
Enter your country: *
Enter your post code:
Enter your telephone number:
In what kind of court did the trial occur? *
Enter the name and address of the court: *
To the best of your knowledge did the judge have a history of problems conducting fair trials?
On what date did the trial begin? * 1000
Describe the level of fairness of the trial in your own words
Enter the case number assigned by the court: *
Enter the name of the presiding judge: *
Enter the name of any other judges hearing the case: *
Enter the name of the prosecuting body or official:
Briefly explain the alleged facts of the case:

1. Right to equality before the law and the courts

The accused:

Enter the name of the accused: *
Enter the crime the accused has been charged with: *
Enter the details of the accused's representative:
The accused is: *
Was the accused present in court? *
The accused is: *
Was the accused fluent in the language of the court? *
Was the charge brought against the accused a charge that is usually brought against others under similar circumstances? *
Had the accused been previously tried for the offences he/she was currently charged with? *
Was the accused represented by a state appointed lawyer? *
Did the lawyer fully and professionally represent his/her client? *
In the jurisdiction, are threats and intimidation sometimes perpetrated against lawyers who defend persons accused of the type of alleged crime/s involved this case? *
Where the accused was not represented in court, did the judge explain to him/her his/her right to legal representation or to self-defence? *
Provide the names, crime suffered, sex, approximate age of each victim and state whether they were present in court and represented. *
Explain any conflicts of interest that may have been inherent in the arrangements as detailed above:

2. Right to prompt notice of the nature and cause of criminal charges, adequate time and facilities for the preparation of a defence and the right to a trial without undue delay

Provide the date of the alleged offence: * 1000
Provide the date of the arrest of the accused: * 1000
Provide the date the accused was informed of the charge against him/her: * 1000
Provide the date a lawyer was assigned to the accused: * 1000
If applicable, how many times did the legal representative meet with the accused?
If applicable, provide the date any provisional detention commenced:
If applicable, provide the date the provisional detention ended:
Was the charge given to the accused in writing? *
If the charge was based on a statutory crime, was the accused given information on the specific law and its provisions?
Was the accused seated near his lawyer in court and able to communicate with him/her?
Were there any communication restrictions during detention?
Did the defence raise the issue of adequacy of time and facilities for preparation of the defence?
Did the defence raise the issue of the promptness of notice of the nature and cause of criminal charges?
Did the defence have access to documentation needed to prepare the defence?

3. Right to a public hearing

Was notice of the hearing posted on a public board outside the courtroom?
Were members of the public or media prevented from entering or dismissed from the courtroom?
If the hearing was declared not to be public, was a justifiable reason given?

4. Right to understand the nature of the charge

Did the judge state the charge?
Did the judge state the relevant law (which should not be retrospective)?
Did the judge state the date of the alleged crime?
Did the judge state the place of the alleged crime?
Did the judge state the parties involved?
For an accused not fluent in the language of the court, is a competent and impartial interpreter provided at all times?
Were provisions made for those with disabilities?

5. Right to a presumption of innocence

Did the accused appear before the court in prison uniform?
Was the accused handcuffed throughout the trial?
Were any statements made by the judge about the guilt of the accused prior to the delivery of the verdict?
Was there anything to suggest that the judge inferred guilt from the silence of the accused?
Did the prosecutor have the burden of proof throughout the trial?
Was the accused given the benefit of the doubt?

6. Right to call and examine witnesses

Was there anything to suggest that any party was not given the opportunity to call witnesses?
Were the witnesses present in the courtroom before they were questioned?
Was the accused informed of the names of witnesses called by the prosecution?
Did the accused or his/her lawyer receive this information with enough time to prepare the defence?
Did the court provide the defence with the possibility to cross-examine witnesses?

7. Presentation of the evidence

Specify the number of: 1. Witnesses, 2. Physical Items of Evidence, 3. Documents and 4. Confessions provided by each of the following parties: prosecution, defence and any civil party
If there was anything to suggest that a party was not given the opportunity to present evidence , please indicate which party:
Civil party
Expand on your answer above if you feel it necessary:

8. Right to full disclosure/equality of arms

Was there anything to suggest the prosecution was not conducted impartially, such that there were indications of political, social, racial, ethnic, religious, cultural, sexual, gender or any other kind of discrimination?
Was there anything to suggest the prosecution was not objective, did not take proper account of the position of the suspect and the victim, or did not pay attention to all relevant circumstances, irrespective of whether they are to the advantage or disadvantage of the suspect?
Did the defence and prosecution have access to the same court documents prior to the hearing?
Were the defence and prosecution treated equally by the presiding judge with regard to objections, requests for adjournment, discovery of documents, etc?
Was the accused excluded from any of the stages of the trial?
Was the accused or defence counsel denied the opportunity to have the last word?

9. Prohibition on self-incrimination and right not to be tortured

Was there anything to suggest that the accused confessed to the offence prior to the hearing?
Was there anything to suggest the accused was interrogated without a lawyer present?
Was there anything to suggest that threats were made to coerce the accused into confessing to the alleged crime?
Was there anything to suggest that violence or torture was used to coerce the accused into confessing to the alleged crime?

10. Independence, impartiality and conduct of the judge

Was there anything to suggest that the judge had an interest in the case (e.g. family, political, financial or other) beyond their usual judicial role that could influence his/her decision - e.g. was the judge visited out of court by the victim/s or their representative prior to or during the trial, did the judge seem to have a pre-formed opinion, or were there unexplained delays in the trial process suggesting bribery/extortion?
Had the judge been involved in the case in a different capacity (e.g. as a defence lawyer, representative of the parties, former public prosecutor, complainant, etc.)?
Did the judge behave in an intimidating manner towards any party?
Did the judge make discriminatory comments about any party as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status? *
Did the judge answer a mobile telephone during the trial?
Was the judge clearly audible and were his explanations clear during the trial?
Did the judge fail to pay attention or fall asleep during the trial?
Were there any disruptions in the court during the trial?
Did prosecutors enter and exit the courtroom by the same door as the judges and/or were they seated with them on the bench? *

11. Deliberation

Was there a deliberation?
Was there anything to suggest that any party spoke to the judge during deliberation?

12. Verdict, proportionality and the right that guilt must be proved beyond reasonable doubt

On what date was the verdict delivered? * 1000
Name each judge present when the verdict was delivered: *
Summarise the verdict and provide details of the sentence given: *
Was the verdict announced in public? *
If the verdict was announced other than at the hearing, was an expected date for the verdict given and complied with?
Did the judge refer to the law under which the accused was charged and to the evidence presented?
Was there anything to suggest that the judge based his or her verdict on evidence that was not in the case file or presented at trial? *
Did the judge refer to any confession by the accused?
In the delivery of the verdict, did the judge make it clear that his/her findings were based on the standard of beyond reasonable doubt?
If the verdict was 'guilty', were there, nevertheless, grounds for 'reasonable doubt'?
Was the punishment proportionate and as provided for by legislation? *
Did the judge explain to the accused the procedure and terms of appeal?
Did the judge inform the accused that in the event of a miscarriage of justice he/she has a right to compensation?
If you consider the trial was unfair and you would like to provide more detail, please do so here:

OpenTrial © MMXIII


Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 10: "Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him."



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