The purpose of criminal proceedings is to establish whether a suspect has committed an offence and to decide which punishment is to be imposed on the person found guilty. Usually, criminal cases are considered in an oral hearing of a district court, but simple cases where the defendant has pleaded guilty may also be decided in a written procedure, which means that the decision is solely based on written documents.
A person will stand trial before a district court if he or she is charged for example with theft, driving while intoxicated, assault or some other punishable act. Usually, the crime victim’s (injured party’s) claim for compensation is also decided in connection with the hearing of the criminal case.
The parties in a criminal case are the prosecutor, the accused, i.e. the defendant, and the victim, i.e. the injured party. Witnesses are also often heard in court.
Already before a trial, a criminal case may be subject to mediation. The suspect and the victim may enter into an agreement on the compensation for the damage arising from the offence. However, mediation does not preclude a criminal trial in the matter, especially if a serious offence is concerned.
Under the Act on Compensation for Crime Damage, a crime victim may in certain cases receive a compensation for personal injury, material damage and other damage to property caused by a criminal offence. Further information is available on the website of the State Treasury.