Does a victim have to attend the trial?

A criminal case can be settled at the district court in two different ways. Less serious and simple criminal proceedings can also be settled without an oral trial, in a so-called written process, if the suspect of the crime is 18 years or older and he/she has confessed and both parties give their consent. In this case a trial may not need to be arranged. In the oral process, the judge makes a verdict on the basis of the written materials.

An oral main hearing means that an actual trial shall be organised. The victim, i.e. the plaintiff, is summoned to court, if his/her presence is necessary for settling the case. It is common that the prosecutor wants to hear about the victim’s sequence of events and nature of damages for so-called witness purposes, in which case the court shall summon the victim. In this case, the victim is summoned to court at the threat of a fine, as are the witnesses. Thus, you have to attend, if an illness diagnosed by a doctor does not prevent it.

It is also worth attending, if the victim has any claims for compensation, which are not directly based on receipts or other supporting documents. In this case, his/her statements on the nature and quantity of the damages is important. Such reasons for compensation are usually pain or emotional suffering.