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The Criminal Courts: Procedure and Sentencing

There are three types of Criminal Offences


1. A Summary Offence
Summary offences are seen as relatively minor offences triable only in a
magistrate's court. Examples of Summary offences include common assault or
battery, threatening behaviour and nearly all-motoring offences. The maximum
sentence for…

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Magistrates Jurisdiction in Criminal Matters
In criminal cases magistrates are responsible for the following:
Deciding on defendants' bail applications, it is usually the courts
responsibility to decide on bail and not the police.
Pre-trail hearings and trails for all summary cases, and any triable
either way cases in which the…

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trial' hearing. At this hearing both the prosecution and the defence make a
case as to where the trial should be held.
The magistrates and the lawyers will also explain to the defendant that:
He may state whether he wishes to plead guilty or not guilty
If he pleads guilty,…

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Any point of law, such as the definition of the mens rea of the offence.
Questions as to the admissibility of evidence: it might be that a
statement was not obtained following the correct procedure
The estimated length of the trial and the availability of witnesses and
counsel, so that…

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Payment of surety, a sum of money, or a security such as property that
is paid to the court and can be seized if bail is broken.
Surrendering passport to ensure the defendant doesn't abscond.
Examples of post release bail conditions:
Reporting to the police at given times.
Having to…

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Deterrence
The idea that a sentence can deter people from committing crimes in the
future, can either be a specific deterrence to the individual offender, or a
general deterrence in which the idea is the punishment will deter society as a
whole from committing the crime, for example the harsh…

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crime rather than the state and are designed to repay, for example damage
caused to the victims property.



Discharge
There are two types of discharge:
1. Absolute discharge, which is where the court takes no further action
against the offender but the discharge will appear on the defendants
criminal record.…

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How the Court Selects a Sentence
Once a defendant has been found guilty the court function is to select an
appropriate sentence. At the stage of sentencing the defendants previous
convictions are made available to the judge.

Pre sentence report
These are normally required for the most serious offences, and…

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