Milat’s trial was set for June 1995, but the case was delayed by wrangles over legal aid, and finally went ahead in the full glare of international publicity in March 1996. Milat was charged with the seven murders, as well as the attack on Paul Onions, and pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Onions was the first prosecution witness, who was followed by testimony from the family members of the victims. Then followed detail of the hundreds of exhibits and scene of crime photos, as well as expert witness testimony. The prosecution case took 12 weeks to present.
The defence called Milat to the stand; he denied any involvement in the killings, but performed poorly under cross-examination, making a bad impression on the jury. The defence tried to imply that other members of the Milat family had committed the crimes, and had then set Ivan Milat up, but the case presented was not credible.
On 27 July 1996, following a 15-week trial, the jury returned after 3 days of consideration, finding Milat guilty on all charges.
He was sentenced to 6 years imprisonment for the attack on Paul Onions, and seven consecutive life sentences for each of the murders. When asked if he had any comment, Milat continued to protest his innocence.