Classification of Offences

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  • Classification of Offences
      • least serious type of offence
      • e.g. TWOCing, driving offences, assault and battery, criminal damage up to £5k and shoplifting under value of £200
      • 97% of all offences are summary
      • Always tried in the Magistrates' Court
      • Can be tried in Magistrates' Court or in Crown Court
      • Not extremely serious but not the least serious
      • e.g. Assault causing ABH and theft
      • if D pleads guilty then sentencing is in Magistrates' Court
      • If D pleads not guilty then D can ask for case to be heard in Crown Court
        • if case is out of Magistrates' knowledge or is complex then it may be sent to Crown Court anyway
      • Really serious offences
      • Always take place in Crown Court (first hearing always in Magistrates')
      • e.g. robbery, ****, murder and manslaughter
      • Summary offences
        • pleading guilty
          • hearing done immediately and mags will come up with sentence
          • D can plead guilty by post and don't have to attend hearing
        • pleading not guilty
          • mags will hear the case to work out issues involved so case can proceed as quickly as possible
      • Either way offences
        • pleading guilty
          • mags will choose to decide sentence themselves or send to Crown Court for sentencing
            • D does not have right to choose which court
        • pleading not guilty
          • "mode of trial" hearing in mags to decide where trial will take place
          • under s.19 of magistrates court act 1980 mags must consider seriousness of case and arguments of prosecution & defence.
            • very complex cases will be sent to the crown court
          • if mags decide to hear case they can still send to crown court for sentencing
          • D still has right to choose trial by jury in Crown Court instead
      • Indictable offences
        • whether D pleads guilty or not, first hearing is always in Magistrates' Court
          • this will deal with whether D wants to apply for legal aid and whether bail is appropriate
        • After first hearing, all indictable offences are sent to the Crown Court


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