The criminal case starts with the acceptance of the indictment issued upon the completion of the criminal investigation by the criminal court and ends with its finalization as a result of the verdict. In the litigation process that starts with the acceptance of the indictment, the court sets the date of the hearing, summons the persons who must be present at the hearing to the hearing, and issues a record regarding the evidence to be collected and the works and matters to be done until the hearing.


There must be at least 1 week between the notification of this summons and the date of the hearing, if the hearing starts without waiting for the expiration of this period, the defendant will be reminded that the hearing can be interrupted if requested, otherwise, as in the relevant decisions of the Supreme Court, the decision given constitutes a reason for reversal. If the defendant requests the hearing of witnesses or experts, they shall notify the court of their request five days before the hearing, but this period is not a forfeiture period. There is no obstacle for the defendant to request the collection of evidence in the later stages of the proceedings, if the court rejects this request of the defendant; the legislator has limited the discretion of the judge by stipulating that if the witness or expert whom the defendant or the participant wants to show at the hearing is brought to the court, these persons will be heard.


The trial phase is the phase that is conducted with the principles such as publicity, closedness, verbality and direct questioning, which dominate the trial, and is concluded by giving the last word to the defendant. As a rule, this phase is held in public, but in cases where public morality and public order require it, it may be decided to hold the hearing closed. In cases where the hearing is decided to be closed, the justification and the verdict shall be announced in the open hearing.


The president of the court or the judge is responsible for the order of the hearing and warns those who disrupt the order of the hearing and those who make outbursts, orders those who do not comply with the warning to be removed from the hall without preventing them from exercising their right to defense, and if the person resists, they may be arrested and disciplinary imprisonment may be ordered against them. This sanction cannot be applied to lawyers.


Unless otherwise stipulated in the law, a hearing cannot be held for the defendant who is not present, but in cases where a decision other than conviction is to be made, the case may be completed in the absence of the defendant, even if the defendant is not interrogated.


At the hearing, the public prosecutor, the defense counsel, the lawyer participating as the representative of the participant may ask questions directly to the defendant, the participant, the witnesses, the experts and other persons summoned.


In the event that the legal nature of the referral articles on which the public prosecutor bases the indictment changes, the accused must be given the right to an additional defense. The defendant's sentence cannot be aggravated unless the defendant is given the right to defense due to the changes we have mentioned. The only source for determining this judicial process and documenting whether the hearing was held in accordance with the law is the trial record and this document is an official document. The record of the hearing is the only evidence that can determine whether the trial was conducted in accordance with the law and in a fair manner, and since this document is an official document, it is valid until its falsity is proven.


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and not intended as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.  If you want to contact an English-speaking criminal lawyer in Istanbul for more information you can contact our office.